Most of us take our smartphone's
"unlimited" 3G data plans for granted. We pay the $30 data
fee (in addition to the charge for monthly minutes) and surf away with
little regard for data overage charges. We do this because using a
smartphone in normal day-to-day duties rarely would consume gigabytes
of data within a month which would tip off wireless providers like
AT&T and Verizon.
Those who tether, however, be it
means like jailbreaking on the iPhone or through officially
sanctioned tethering data plans, can find it easy to consume
gigabytes worth of data in a month. This comes from people tethering
their notebooks and other internet-capable devices to the phone which
make sucking down copious amounts of data easy.
With this in mind, Verizon appears to
a preemptive step to curb users who consume large amounts of
data. According to the Financial Times, Verizon wants to put
in place a tiered pricing strategy for LTE (4G) data plans. What
makes this move even more puzzling to potential customers is that
Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam recently stated that the cost of
carrying 1MB of data over its upcoming LTE wireless network will be
"half to one-third the cost" of Verizon's existing EVDO
What is even more interesting is that
Lowell stated, “I expect people will have four or five or perhaps
even more devices they will connect to the network” -- but he went
on to say that these same customers would prefer to buy "buckets"
of data by the MB for this usage scenario.
For most people connecting four or more
devices, conventional wisdom would say that they would want an
unlimited plan to avoid overage charges; but perhaps Lowell knows
something about Verizon customers that we don't.
Lowell went on to add that his company
will have three to five handsets next year that will work on its LTE
data networks. Verizon Wireless also expects to switch over to LTE
voice traffic by 2012.
Sprint, which is offering competing 4G
data coverage via WiMAX, is launching its HTC
EVO 4G smartphone early next month. That phone will come with
attached with an unlimited 4G data plan, albeit with a $10 higher
price tag (per month) than what most customers are used to for their
current 3G data plans.