AT&T's plan to impose monthly usage caps on wireline broadband customers -- and charge overage fees for additional data -- may provide "air cover" for large U.S. cable operators to do the same, according to Sanford Bernstein senior analyst Craig Moffett.
The telco will limit regular DSL customers to 150 Gigabytes of data uploaded or downloaded per month, while U-verse Internet DSL customers will be capped at 250 GB. AT&T will charge $10 for each 50 GB used beyond the caps, with the terms to go into effect May 2, AT&T said. The move was reported Sunday by DSLReports.com.
In a research note Monday, Moffett said he expects U.S. cable operators to follow AT&T's move by introducing pricing plans that include caps for lower-end packages and surcharges for additional usage. The first MSOs likely to do so are Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable, with Comcast "the least likely to move in the short term," he said.