“Unlimited data plans are pointless.” At least, that’s what cell phone coverage provider Verizon Wireless would have you believe. According to an article on Digital Trends, the cellular giant hired analyst Jack E. Gold to create a blog post for it that “informs” consumers unlimited data plans weigh very heavily on the cellular network and are basically pointless. Gold argued that overall performance of cellular networks would suffer if everyone had unlimited data, which would then force cell companies to invest in upgrading their infrastructure and drive cell phone bills higher, Digital Trends went on to say.
Rebutting Gold’s initial argument, Digital Trends also noted that giving customers a data cap doesn’t seem to help network speeds either, or else we wouldn’t experience mobile internet “hanging up,” so to speak, during times of heavy traffic. What Gold seems to forget is that mobile users can’t be expected to always stay within their data limits, especially those who use YouTube or other social media sites heavily. Even with the best of intentions, it’s easy to forget that Wi-Fi and Mobile Data are two separate things, and 3G or other forms of data are not free to use for unlimited periods of time.
In all fairness, many restaurants and other public places are beginning to offer free Wi-Fi to customers (some car companies are even building Wi-Fi or 4G LTE Data into their cars now!), so the amount of mobile data one needs is probably going to drop. But don’t get down about not being able to share on the go just yet: Verizon competitors T-Mobile and Sprint currently offer their own unlimited packages. T-Mobile provides unlimited 4G LTE for the whole family at just $40.00 per month, while Sprint will throw in unlimited voice and texting with the data plan for just $20.00 more monthly.
So, what is a sharer/Snapchatter/Instagram user to do? If the current userbase is any indication, people do want unlimited data, and Verizon may regret not giving it to them to the tune of potential sales lost to Sprint and other companies that give people what they’re looking for.
On the slightly brighter side, TechDirt mentioned that users who bought unlimited data before Verizon and fellow carrier AT&T eliminated it will be grandfathered in. However, the site also added that both companies like to play nasty tricks on unlimited data users, such as purposely slowing down internet speed or restricting access to certain apps, both presumably with the intention of encouraging them to abandon their data privileges.
This latter practice is commonly known as “data throttling,” and the FTC is warring against it. Prepaid wireless company TracFone was recently scolded by the FTC and forced to refund consumers for using this very method against those with unlimited data plans. If there is enough demand in the mobile marketplace, it might convince Verizon and similar companies to reinstate mobile data plans, but don’t hold your breath.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]