Well, AT&T has eliminated the unlimited data plan, and Internet anarchists everywhere are having a cow. The funny thing is AT&T’s headline on the announcement: “AT&T Announces New Lower-Priced Wireless Data Plans…”
First question: Are the plans really lower priced, as AT&T claims? Now that’s funny. If you read the headline on this press release you would think it was some mundane, tiny pricing shift — like AT&T thought it could slip one by millions of frothing-mouthed, blogging mobile data heads. Of course the digital-media addicted Internet anarchists note that by definition eliminating an all-you-can eat plan is raising prices. MobileCrunch calls this a “sad day in data land.”
At any rate, this was inevitable. Mobile phone companies offering unlimited data plans in the era of the smartphone is suicidal. It would be like the water company offering you all-the-Evian you can drink.
I really don’t get the whole idea that data should be free. It’s a silly notion of entitlement, like you should be able to go to the laundromat and pay one quarter to do as many loads of laundry as possible. Why should the mobile world be different than any other business?
The bottom line is that AT&T — and next Verizon — are prepping in advance for a major paradigm shift in their market, as 4G will move nearly the entire network to data.
Better to get this out of the way now, before the next wave of smartphones hit and even more data is consumed. As soon as 4G hits folks will start going wild, as data-access rates increase up to 15X those of 3G and data consumption goes up orders of magnitude.
But before you freak out, throw your iPhone in the trash, and contemplate a lawsuit, let’s let cooler heads prevail:
AT&T’s BIGGEST PLAN INCLUDES 2GB FOR $25.
That is a lot of data, my friends. I monitor my data usage closely because my wife has an iPhone that’s under some kind of witness protection program as a renegade device here in the state of Montana, and here is what I will tell you: It’s really hard to use 2GB on a 3G (or lower) network! Even if you are downloading stock quotes, Red Sox clips, and weather radar feeds all day long it’s hard to get to 2 GB. So calm down everybody!
There is also a 200MB DataPlus plan for $15 per month. I consume a lot of data. I use a little under 200MB. This seems like an okay price to me. Now if I had an iPad and I was downloading Netflix movies? Different story.
The speculation is that Verizon will follow. Of course Verizon will follow. It’s a duopoly in North America, basically. This is a gift for them!
Think of it this way: Would you rather have the largest mobile companies going bankrupt and choking up your mobile access because a bunch of punks have gone hog-wild sharing party videos? Or do you want sanity to return to the communications industry?
Embrace the change folks, it’s good for the network.