Learn how you can get the iPhone 13 now!
tbrunojr's profile

Contributor

 • 

2 Messages

Sun, Sep 25, 2016 6:11 AM

AT&T Grandfathered Unlimited Data - Restricting 'Free' Features with iPhone 7 / iOS10

It's no secret that all carriers have moved away from 'unlimited' data plans in favor of tiered monthly limits.  With Apple's release of iOS 10 and the iPhone 7, it looks as though AT&T has discovered a new way to try and force its most loyal customers into submission.

 

Being grandfathered into their 'Unlimited' data plan implies that said customer has remained with them since at least 2010. In February of 2016, AT&T added $5 dollars monthly to the cost of these customers' grandfathered unlimited plans with a 'like it or lose it' letter.  What's more, they instituted a new policy of 'throttling' said 'unlimited' data customers' throughput speeds after a 22GB threshold.

 

As smartphones become smarter, new features become available.  Apple's iOS 10 recently added a new technology called 'visual voicemail'.  It basically translates a voicemail message into text on a recipients phone prior to them even having to listen to said voicemail.  This fantastic new technology adds a whole host of new conveniences to users:  No longer are you required to rudely hold the phone to your face after receiving a voice-message. No longer does your environment determine when and where you can 'listen' to a message (be it too loud, etc. etc.).  You can simply see a text translation of it.  What's more, you can copy the callers call-back number that was specified in the message (which is too often different than the number they called from) and then paste it back into the phone app to dial them back.

 

While Apple poured tons of r&d into developing this technology, it cost(s) AT&T literally nothing to implement.  In fact, AT&T includes it free with their similarly named visual-voicemail feature included in all of their data-plans.  That is, unless you are a member of the class of loyal customers that have the audacity to clutch unto your grandfathered-in 'unlimited' data plan, as described above.  Those customers will be told it's a free-feature, just not available to them. 

Think of all the future features that may become available to you as an intelligent-phone owner with this simple example of convenience technology.  Contemplating all of that, along with all of the competition out there for your money in terms of carriers, what do you think about how AT&T has opted to treat their most loyal customers- restricting the availability of new features as a methodology toward squeezing their most loyal customers into a pay-per-MB type of plan.

I tried my best to investigate.  After multiple calls and back and forths with AT&T over 'voice', I decided to give it a go on-line, so that at least I would have a record of my exchange (which I've included below).  I guess there's a certain irony in that.

 

I wonder if AT&T cares about whether this gives pause to their most loyal customers.  After-all, how many of us still exist that are grandfathered in to unlimited data?  Is it worth it to AT&T to gamble our loyalty for inclusion of a feature that costs them nothing?  Is the cost of 'squeezing' their most loyal customers out of their 'unlimited data' plans THAT financially beneficial?  Is it beneficial at all?  I guess only time will tell.  I can say for sure that I plan to switch carriers if this isn't resolved appropriately.  I wonder if you (out there) feel the way I do?

 

- T Bruno, Los Angeles (AT&T customer since 1990)

 

 -----------------------------

From 09/24/16 at 5pm.  AT&T Online Official Customer Service Representative Exchange (.pdf available)


Michelle: Hello, my name is Michelle. I hope you are having a great day! How may I help you today?
Tom: Hi, do you know whether my plan includes visual voicemail?
Michelle: Sure I can definitely help you with this
Michelle: Please bear with me I am reviewing your account
Tom: Kay
Michelle: Perfect.
Michelle: Thank you.
Michelle: Thank you for waiting.
Michelle: Tom I can see that your line have visual voicemail
Tom: Hmm. It doesn't seem to be working on my IPhone with iOS10... I wonder if somethings broken? I won't get voicemail messages all day, and suddenly four will come in at the same time within five minutes of each other (as actual 'voice'mail). There's THAT issue, and the fact that I don't get text portion that iOS 10 promises to have.
Michelle: Thank you for that information.
Michelle: I would love to help you with this Issue I can help you doing the troubleshooting or we can remove the feature but it will delete all the messages
Tom: i want to fix the issue so that i have visual voicemail dependably working again AND
that the voicemail to text feature works...
Michelle: Perfect.
Michelle: Lets do the technical guide first what you think about that ?
Tom: sure
Michelle: Tom please bear with me while I do the troubleshooting
Tom: ...bearing...
Michelle: Thank you.
Michelle: Thank you for waiting.
Michelle: Toma I am doing the troubleshooting to reset the network so could you please turn off your device
Tom: Power it completely off, correct?
Michelle: Yes, that is correct.
Tom: Okay, done.
Michelle: Perfect.
Michelle: Could you please turn on the device
Tom: Okie doke. It's back on.
Michelle: Excellent!
Michelle: Thank you.
Michelle: can you please try to receive a voicemail
Tom: Well, I can still see and playback all of the voicemails I have in my box currently.. I don't see any difference as far the voice to text feature.. Are you asking me to have someone call me and leave a voicemail?
Michelle: Yes can you do that Tom
Tom: can you call me? 😉
Michelle: No I can't sorry 😞
Michelle: I am sorry Tom, I just double check and I can get my manager to leave you a voicemail if you want
Michelle: is that ok?
Tom: perfect!
Michelle: Awesome!
Michelle: Tom may I know if you receive the voicemail?
Tom: okay, i got his voicemail, and was able to listen to it. so that's good. i still dont see any voicemail to text read-out though.
Michelle: Thank you for that information.
Michelle: May I know if you was able to read the voicemail messages before?
Tom: no, i have never had that ability. i believe it was only introduced with iOS 10. I
installed it a week ago. From all I can find online, it should should just work automatically.
Michelle: Tom what I can see is that your current plan is not compatible to the visual voicemail
Tom: Lol Michelle. Can I have the last half-hour of my life back? That was the first question I asked you:) Can you tell me how much it would cost to add that service monthly? Can you also assure me that I will maintain my data unlimited/message unlimited status if I DO choose to upgrade to visual voicemail? Thanks.
Michelle: No problem.
Michelle: It will my entire pleasure to provide this Information
Michelle: The feature of visual voicemail is for free there is no additional cost
Michelle: and of course you will continue with same services you have in your account nothing is gonna change I assure you this
Tom: Great. Lets then proceed to upgrading my plan to include the visual voicemail feature!
Michelle: Just to confirm Tom you want to add the Visual voicemail feature am I correct?
Tom: correct.
Michelle: Thank you for confirm this to me
Michelle: Thank you for waiting.
Michelle: Tom I apologize for this the system doesn't let me add this feature it says that in order to have it we need to change your plan because is not compatible with your current plan
Tom: Which plan would I need then? Is it more expensive? Obviously, the most important thing is that I don't lose my unlimited/unlimited status.
Michelle: No problem.
Michelle: Let me check this Information please allow me couples of minutes
Tom: kay
Michelle: Perfect.
Michelle: Tom in this case if you decide to change the plan will loose the data unlimited 😞
Tom: I had a sneaky suspicion that AT&T would try and do that:( Whelp, that certainly wouldn't be worth doing. It's funny that they state that it is available at no additional cost, but that I would incur an additional cost. Is there a manager I can speak with in this regard?
Michelle: No problem I will connect you with my manager
Michelle: Allow me just a moment please
Michelle: Thank you for waiting.
Michelle: I will get you in touch with my manager right now, thank you for your time and patience
Michelle has left the chat
You are being transferred, please hold...
Agent Sebastian enters chat
Sebastian: Hi, my name is Sebastian. I’m glad you were connected with me. Allow me just a few moments to review your previous conversation, and I’ll be ready to help resolve your concerns.
Tom: perfect. thanks Sebastian.
Sebastian: You are so welcome.
Sebastian: I will try to see if we are still able to add VVM to your plan, since it is grandfathered.
Tom: thank you so much.
Sebastian: Anytime
Sebastian: Thank you for waiting.
Sebastian: Tom, I see we aren't able to add the VVM to your previous plan, I do have the manual code but it doesn't shows as available anymore.
Tom: Can we create a 'service ticket' to get an updated manual code?
Sebastian: Well, if with my manager override I couldn't add it it's because is not available in the system anymore, and I had the code saved in my files because I used to add it some time ago.
Tom: can we upgrade my service plan to one that includes it, and then revert back to my grandfathered status? There MUST be a way to do that for instances where someone is inadvertently upgraded, and need their status reverted.
Sebastian: The only way to have it would be upgrading your data plan since is the way to get visual voice mail.
Tom: ...which would in effect, no longer allow me to continue with unlimited status...
Sebastian: Yeah, that would be true.
Tom: AT&T states everywhere that visual voicemail is a free feature, which you're telling me I'm unable to receive unless I pay more by upgrading my service plan. Is there someone I can speak with in this regard, or an official method of entering a grievance ([Per Guidelines:  Keep it Relevant and Appropriate].?
Sebastian: Tom, we will respect any decision you might take regarding the issue with the visual voice mail, since in my end i"m unable to add it for you.
Tom: Can we create a service ticket or can I speak with someone that CAN add it for me?
Sebastian: Tom, there's not much we can do to add this value as it nos not available for grandfathered plans, it is indeed for free for our mobile share plans.
Tom: Okay Sebastian. Thanks for your time.
Sebastian: You are so welcome.
Agent stopped typing.

 

Thanks for hearing me out,

-Tom

wvmstr

Scholar

 • 

198 Messages

5 y ago

You are paying for something that you don't really have, which is unlimited data.

 

Any new feature that may consume more data will be excluded by AT&T.

 

You can get visual voice mail from 3rd parties in the Android world. Don't know about iPhone.

 

 

sandblaster

ACE - Expert

 • 

53.2K Messages

5 y ago

Visual Voicemail is not new. They've been calling voicemail on the iPhone "Visual voicemail" for years. What is new in iOS 10 is the voice to text translation. I've not upgraded to iOS 10 so can't really comment on that feature but I doubt your unlimited data plan is he reason it is not working.

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

 • 

89.1K Messages

5 y ago

Need to clear up more than one misconception 

 

1.   ATT throttled data from 2010 to early 2015.  It is NOT NEW.  Your data was throttled at 5 gigs.  You were unaware of this which the FCC took exception to.  AT&T began notifying unlimited customers with text warnings when they were near the throttling point.  You apparently were not aware you were being throttled.  

You are no longer being throttled.  AT&T reprioritises data at 22 gigs, which may cause slow down in data.  Many report no change in speed.

 

2.  VVM is not new.  Just like other features it was a paid add on to old tiered data plans.   It has been a free, included feature in newer tiered plans.  Grandfathered accounts of any kind can't be changed as they no longer exist. 

 

3.   Apple does not allow any carrier to mess with their software.  But that doesn't mean that ATT, or any other carrier, allows a feature that your phone, or any phone supports, of the carrier or plan doesn't support.  Like tethering, FM radio, HD voice, voicemail text transcription.

 

4.  Voicemail to text transcription is not available on all phones, even iF the plan allows it.  It's a feature that was removed from my ATT Samsung galaxy S6 and Note 3 during a software update from Samsung.  On the older Note 3 and non ATT phones I can add a 3rd party application which does transcribe my text.  I am aware I am using my data plan and using data when using these apps.

 

 

 

sandblaster

ACE - Expert

 • 

53.2K Messages

5 y ago

@lizdance40 I believe iPhone voicemail has been called VVM since the original iPhone. Anyway, I've had it since the iPhone 3G and it was definitely available on the grandfathered unlimited plan. It sounds like the OP's data plan may not be provisioned right. It's been a couple years since I had the unlimited plan but I believe it said "Unlimited data for iPhone with VVM" when I had it. If the OP's data plan does not say that or something similar, that should be fixable. 

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

 • 

89.1K Messages

5 y ago

@sandblaster. I understood it was included with business accounts or a small charge (subscription) on personal accounts (back before shared data plans).  

 

And transcription of voice to text is inconsistent.  While my ATT phone and plan include VVM, it is no longer true VVM, and no longer includes transcription on my ATT android.  The app isn't compatible with MM.  So while the OPs plan isn't compatible, my phone with AT&T designed software no longer uses this included feature either.  

 

But on my nexus 6p, I can add the att messages app and get all the features that ATT phones now have excluded.

Go figure?!?!??

 

 

 

 

   

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

 • 

89.1K Messages

5 y ago

 

IMG_4751.JPGIMG_4752.JPGIMG_4756.JPG

However.  The 6P is not transcribing the messages to text anymore.  

 

 

 

 

ML0815

Guru

 • 

408 Messages

5 y ago

Hello @tbrunojr, and welcome to the AT&T Community Forums!

I am so deeply sorry for the inconvence you are going through. I understand the frustration it may produce, because I used to have the grandfathered unlimited data plan as well.

In some relationships, people tend to demand more than they are willing to meet half way, even less if it means to let go. But sometimes, letting go is for a greater good.

 

Sometimes we like our other halves to be less resistant to change, and more willing to jump in, and bet it *all in* with us! And we end up calling that loyalty as well. That means time tenure is not the only meaning of loyalty.

Sprint recently raised the price of its unlimited data plan from $60 to $70, while T-Mobile upped its fee from $80 to $95. Verizon and AT&T haven't offered unlimited plans to new customers for years, but existing subscribers are seeing the cost of their grandfathered unlimited plans rising: Verizon hiked the price for its unlimited data pack by $20 to $50 a month, while AT&T announced plans to bump [for the first time in 7 years] the monthly fee for unlimited data from $30 to $35 in early 2016. (Source)

 

If we talk about money, we can all agree we have to work hard for it, and if something does not makes financial sense, we start to look for other options. The end result is either we change our behaviour(s), or we move on. But it is difficult to perceive it as a fair decision, when we are the ones who feel are being left behind.

AT&T is offering 4 smartphone lines for $57.50 each,

including unlimited data,

domestic calls,

global texts,

international long distance to Mexico & Canada,

roaming (including the unlimited data) in Mexico & Canada,

and DIRECTV in 2 TVs,

with the DIRECTV Everywhere (watch content in up to 5 mobile devices at the same time),

watch live shows that have been broacasted up to 72 hours in the past,

free installation,

DVRs that record 5 shows at the same time,

and there are so many other features its impossible for me to remember right now...


All that for $57.50 per line??? That is a great deal! There is no other company out there offering a better deal!


Also, AT&T recently introduced the new Mobile Share Advantage (MSA) plans, where the customer pay for certain amount of data, and if they go over it, there is zero data overage charges. The days of charging $15 for a GB or its fraction of data overage, are over!

Things are changing, but true change happens when the whole *family* is on board with the mission.

"Today, our mission is to connect people with their world, everywhere they live and work, and do it better than anyone else."

 

Gary L

ACE - Expert

 • 

15.8K Messages

5 y ago

1) My iPhone's have always had visual voicemail, which to me has always just been a visual menu system to play and see my multiple voicemails (verses calling and and listening one at a time). It worked fine with my unlimited data plan thorough the iPhone 6s.  I've recently (happily) abandoned my unlimited plan and my visual voicemail has continued to work proberly with my iPhone 6s.

 

As I just updated to iOS 10, I continued to get my voicemail but it now offers voice transcription.  

 

IMPORTANT?:

I did have a problem with iOS 10 Visual Voicemail once I updated but I can't recall the problem.

I may have had to so something to get my text transcription on my voicemail to work or maybe it was just to make the voicemail work.  Sometimes the voicemail gets lost and you need to reset your voicemail password and then reboot.  If you google this, you'll see it comes up a lot after iOS updates (see here for example).  

 

 

@tbrunojr Just for the heck of it, I'd be tempted for you to try the above...

 

It also seems to me the first voicemail after this did not get the transcription but the second call did. The same happened to another of our lines: after the update checked voice mail, left one but no transcription, so we rebooted, left one (no transcription) and then left another and had it (they did not have the pin issue). I'm not sure if the person with the 3rd line is getting the transcriptions.

 

2) Do any people with iPhone 6s with iOS 10 and unlimited data have this transcription feature working?

 

3) Keep in mind that tethering is a "free feature" but AT&T doesn't allow this with all plans. That's up to them.  I'm not sure who does this transcription: Siri, AT&T or Apple (I think the latter) but it works the same for me as it did last month other than than the text. 

 

Gary L

ACE - Expert

 • 

15.8K Messages

5 y ago


@tbrunojr wrote:

It's no secret that all carriers have moved away from 'unlimited' data plans in favor of tiered monthly limits.  With Apple's release of iOS 10 and the iPhone 7, it looks as though AT&T has discovered a new way to try and force its most loyal customers into submission.

 


Actually, this is a "secret" to many, it's been 6 years (if I recall correctly) since they were offering those plans. That's like a millenium in tech years.

 

They discontinued the plan, don't be suprised if they don't support it.

 

They've let you keep your plan all that time, they could cancel it at any time.  It would be a minor PR issue at the time, but it'd be like ripping off a band aid, it'd be done and people wouldn't be bringing it up later like they were orphaned (and not grandfathered). 

 

They've upped your rate $5 a month, PLUS another (estimated) $17.50 in that they aren't giving you subsidized phones anymore but they still charging you.

 

They aren't offering free calling in Mexico or Canada for those lines (are they?) or free roaming either.

 

No one is making you keep that plan, it's a choice. I'm not sure how it makes you a "most loyal customer". 

 

They do not throttle at 22GB, they reprioritize, it's a real distinction in that if the network is not congested, you will not see a difference (many people that use 100GB+ do not report a difference).

 

Did you try the possilve fix I mentioned above?

Contributor

 • 

1 Message

5 y ago

Hi, I'm just starting to see the increase. This is frustrating. I support at&t through and through. Even hold some of their stock. This price gouging is sickening. I understand that you at&t needs to be profitable, but from what I have seen they have been. At this point they are just putting a squeeze on the customers who have been loyal. Im not loyal because I dont allow myself to get ripped off?? I never cashed that lousy check they sent me either for throttling my speed.
lizdance40

ACE - Sage

 • 

89.1K Messages

5 y ago

@Unlimited89


@Unlimited89 wrote:
Hi, I'm just starting to see the increase. This is frustrating. I support at&t through and through. Even hold some of their stock. This price gouging is sickening. I understand that you at&t needs to be profitable, but from what I have seen they have been. At this point they are just putting a squeeze on the customers who have been loyal. Im not loyal because I dont allow myself to get ripped off?? I never cashed that lousy check they sent me either for throttling my speed.

Aside from your post being tacked on to a COMPLETELY unrelated thread, it isn't making much sense.  

Ripped off?  Huh? what does that mean?  How does "price gouging" and unlimited data wind up in the same paragraph?  Your price is fixed for unlimited data, so again HUH?

AT&T has not throttled data in a year and a half.  Unlimited plans are reprioritised after 22 gigs of use.  This MAY result in slower data speeds.   

 

 

Busternutt

Professor

 • 

3.2K Messages

5 y ago

When you have a grandfathered plan, with any carrier, you are locked into the terms that existed on the day it was discontinued. If you want the latest and greatest features, you have to select from a current plan, and that applies to all the carriers. Entirely your choice.

Gary L

ACE - Expert

 • 

15.8K Messages

5 y ago


@Busternutt wrote:

When you have a grandfathered plan, with any carrier, you are locked into the terms that existed on the day it was discontinued. If you want the latest and greatest features, you have to select from a current plan, and that applies to all the carriers. Entirely your choice.


Exactly, could you imagine the upset Mobile Share Value customers who'd be upset if getting an extra GB of data went away and their only option was to be slowed down???

 

Not even counting the fact of changing features on those old contract plans allows people get out of their contracts.

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

 • 

89.1K Messages

5 y ago

My biggest complaint would be having my $15 line fees jacked up to $20

 

 

New Member

 • 

10 Messages

1 y ago

Dear T Bruno, Los Angeles (AT&T customer since 1990)

I like your post and created my own, I have been a loyal AT&T customer since 2008. Can  you or anyone help me? I am on an grandfathered unlimited data plan, that is way cheaper than the current so called unlimited ones. I also have an iPhone XR and LTE service working fine on it. Years ago FaceTime worked on it  for several years, but then one day within the last two years it dodn't ( it also used to work in the same period of time for some of my friends in same situation as me, whose companies were swallowed into AT&T, even tethering worked on their grandfathered unlimited data plans using iPhones and even Samsung or Android phones).

You can verify on this article that it in fact worked for us here:

https://appleinsider.com/articles/13/05/20/att-to-bring-facetime-over-cellular-to-all-customers-by-end-of-year

https://www.att.com/support/topic/wireless/?login=true&haloSuccess=true

Need help?
New to the AT&T Community? Start by visiting the Community How-To.
New to the AT&T Community?
Visit the Community How-To.