The case against "Unlimited" Data

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by TruckdriverSean, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. TruckdriverSean macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Location:
    Texas, US
    #1
    With AT&T's new "capped" data plans and the opinion of some, that this is the end of the world as we know it, I've spent a little bit of time looking at both sides of this argument. Specifically, what advantage might there be to a "by-the-byte" data rate setup, as opposed to the "all you can eat buffet" we're used to here in the States.

    Before I go further, let's get a couple of things established.

    (1) AT&T is a for-profit company. This should be obvious, but it's still good the keep in mind what motivates them, and what doesn't. From their perspective, they're obligated to make money or there won't BE an AT&T.

    (2) Charging $20 for tethering w/o any additional data is just stupid. I can't defend that.

    With those points established, here's my thought:

    With an "Unlimited All-you-can-eat" data plan, what motivation is there for a carrier like AT&T to improve their network?

    They're going to get $30 in revenue regardless how much (or little) data you use. Let's say that providing 100mb's of data costs AT&T $0.75USD. If you use 2 Gigs, they make $15 of profit from you that month. Use 7.5 gigs and they actually LOSE money (in this imaginary $0.75/100MB world) to the tune of -$26.25!

    But if you only use 200 MB, they make $28.50 in profit. (cue Mr. Burns... .....Excellent...)

    That's almost an incentive to keep the network just barely passable. Afterall, the worse the network is, the less data you'll try to use, and the higher the percentage of that $30 AT&T will get to keep. Think about it. At only 150kbps how many songs are you going to try to download on AT&T's network? If your home/business wifi is 4500kbps, you'll probably just wait till you get home. Less data used equals more profits kept, so remind me again why the carrier "needs" to improve?


    On the other hand let's look at the new data plans.

    ---$15/200MB plan. Ok, I have to say it. ...Got calculator?

    ---$25/2GB plan. The first 2gigs cost $12.50 each. Every gig after that costs $10. Now this is what I'm talking about!

    Also keep in mind that instead of overage charges at 4X or 6X the normal rate, AT&T is actually reducing the rate for extra data. So in effect, they are creating a plan where a power user is just buying as much as he/she needs, like it was any other commodity. Want 1.5 gigs? Cool that'll be $25 ($13.75 profit), Want 3.5 gigs? ($18.75 profit),How about 7.5 gigs? ($28.75 profit)

    Instead of AT&T's profit being tied only to the number of subscribers (x $30 fixed fee) MINUS the cost for amount of data used, their profit is subscribers PLUS extra data used. The more you use the network, the more money the carrier makes!

    So for example, if AT&T puts a solid 3 Mbps connection in your area, you would probably just download the music right then and there. Rock solid 7.2 Mbps? Oh yeah! If AT&T can establish a faster, more reliable data network, more data will be used, more gigs can be sold, and more profit can be made.

    (cue Mr. Burns again...)

    It may not be the perfect solution to the slow-data blues, but at least it gets the carrier motivated to actually improve the customer's experience. More data, more profit.

    Sean
     
  2. doctorxring macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    #2
    .

    I'm with you here.

    It makes sense and is only fair to charge the data hogs appropriately.

    .
     
  3. doubleatheman macrumors 6502a

    doubleatheman

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    #3
    People who use 10gb are crazy....

    But 2gb is really too small for everything this new phone can do. It's sad we have all been in paying AT&T $30 per moth per year for them to improve its network... but its not really happening.

    So now we get crippled for them sitting on their butts.

    Its nice to have a cool phone.
     
  4. Mr. Chewbacca macrumors 6502a

    Mr. Chewbacca

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Dallas TX
    #4
    That may be true now but when the iPhone is finally opened to other carriers they will have to actually compete with each other.

    If Sprint is going unlimited for the same price as att's capped data plan then att will find the motivation to improve their plans - networks when they start losing customers. Make no mistake att could not afford to lose all of the iphone clients.

    I think your argument is valid and well put but is stronger in a monopoly.
     
  5. yadmonkey macrumors 65816

    yadmonkey

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Western Spiral
    #5
    This argument makes sense today, but there's a reason I'm sticking with the unlimited plan even though I only average 50MB per month data... as soon as I get my iPhone 4 I know I'll use a lot more data simply because it will be more usable (faster phone, faster 3G).

    Then perhaps next year Facetime will be opened up over the cellular network and all of a sudden my data use jumps up big time. And whatever iPhone follows the iPhone 4 will be even more data hungry.

    The point is that 2GB is a good deal of cellular data today, but it won't be long before your more average users are pushing that limit and I don't want to get into the game of getting fleeced on data charges. So as long as I'm grandfathered in, I'll stick with my unlimited plan.
     
  6. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #6
    I would agree with you if 4G isn't happening. But when we get 4G-enabled (LTE) iPhone a year or two down the road, all bets will be off. Those that have unlimited 3G data plan will have to sign up with new 4G plan (which will probably come with its own bandwidth cap and pricing). And those that have not gone over 2 GB would have paid $60/year for nothing.

    Just look at the first generation iPhone (which I will be upgrading from). In the US, it requires $20/month unlimited EDGE data plan with 200 SMS. It's not grandfathered if I choose to upgrade to 3G-enabled iPhone.
     
  7. TurboSC macrumors 65816

    TurboSC

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2007
    Location:
    California
    #7
    The best solution I've heard thus far is to just allow for rollover data, so you're actually purchasing the bandwidth.

    I do find it pointless to charge $20 extra for what, nothing pretty much... data is data, why do I have to pay a premium to use it one way or the other...
     
  8. yadmonkey macrumors 65816

    yadmonkey

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Location:
    Western Spiral
    #8
    Interesting, but what are you basing this on? Did the data plan change when Apple went from 2G to 3G?

    I've been wondering why there's no rollover data myself. I don't mind paying for non-unlimited bandwidth, but I don't like paying for bandwidth that expires so quickly.
     
  9. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #9
    This is exactly why I'm staying where I am rather than saving 5 bucks a month.

    Yes, from $20 to $30.
     
  10. TeamDNA macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #10
    you know how many gigs of data i used in the last 6 months .. around 80 GB of data.. i use between 7-15 GB of data a month.. not matter what you say .. I dont care I will continue to use that much as i will be keeping my unlimited data plan .. jailbreak and tether all the time.. i honestly dont think i could live off 2GB of data a month
     
  11. iphone1027 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    #11
    Neither could I. I will continue JBing my phone and tethering when necessary. I pay for unlimited therefore I use it.
     
  12. TeamDNA macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #12
    yup
     
  13. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Location:
    CA
    #13
    Would you leave if they eliminated unlimited data all together?
     
  14. Natesac macrumors 6502a

    Natesac

    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas,Tx
    #14
    I agree with you here. In a world of Pandora radio being streamed in the background as a "Tentpole" feature we should be able to use it without worrying about overages. I use very little pandora over 3G right now. But with ios 4 I will use it like crazy and no one should tell me I shouldn't. I for one am keeping my unlimited data as long as they will let me and I am going to use lots of data. The contracts says unlimited, I pay my bill on time every month. I am going to use as much as I want to cause that is what the AT&T store sold me.

    All the AT&T apologists are Trolls who love to argue. They have existed since before the web. Now I'm not trying to say that the op is a troll, just realistic.
     
  15. h1kar1 macrumors regular

    h1kar1

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Location:
    Los angeles
    #15
    well a few things i see.

    If people are being picky with there data plans.

    1. People will not ever click on any of the new Add's
    2. People who have gotten things like At&t's driving naviagation which is all internet based will drop it in a hart beat paying a monthly charge on top of eating up all there data. (i use navigon anyway)

    This all seems backwards to me they should be improving to keep up with things not slacking and charging us because they can't keep up with demand.

    At&t wireless would of drowned a long time ago if it wasn't for apple.
     
  16. iphone1027 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    #16
    I would consider it.
     
  17. troy14 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2008
    Location:
    Las Vegas (Summerlin), NV
    #17
    You pay for unlimited data / month for your iphone, not to tether to your laptop.
     
  18. iphone1027 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    #18
    True I pay for unlimited data, and it's also true I could download/upload the data in whatever method I choose to.
     
  19. ajones46 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Monroe, Michigan
    #19
    Yeah I definitely agree with the OP. It's honestly a smart move on ATT's part, ya know? New iPhone coming out and people are going to be feasting on data, so 1.) Put capped plans to save the fragile network and then 2.) make a damn good profit off it and then save some money for the low data users. Only people who lose are the ones who really use the unlimited-ness.
     
  20. uiop. macrumors 68020

    uiop.

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    #20
    This makes me scratch my head. More power to you for taking advantage of your unlimited data plan. But do you have DSL at home?
     
  21. ajones46 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Location:
    Monroe, Michigan
    #21
    Nope! ATT iPhone unlimited data plan made him cancel his Comcast Hi-Speed Internet at home ;)
     
  22. WiiMarioHacker macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    #22
    I agree. AT&T should have been charging the data hogs a huge amount of $$, yet those hogs can do what they still do though they'll pay $10 per gig they use.

    So all in all, they're capping us for nothing, and the data hogs will continue to hog data.


    IMO, They didn't need to cap us, we were already capped, though it was an undisclosed amount of data/per month.
     
  23. iphone1027 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    #23
    "Data hogs" how you eloquently put it are in fact using what they are paying for, UNLIMITED data. Last time I checked, unlimited means without boundaries, no restrictions or controls. Therefore, it is not the fault of data hogs that they use 2, 3, 5, 10 GB per month and other non-data hogs use let's say, < 1 GB or < 500 Mb per month.

    I'm curious as to know what YOUR definition of a data hog is? Keep in mind this will be strictly your opinion, not a fact.
     
  24. TeamDNA macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #24
    no i wish i did.. i have not had wifi or an internet provider for about a year now .. so all the downloading streaming has been tethering to my macbook from my iphone..
     
  25. Built macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #25
    No incentive to improve their network?

    Isn't that what we have been paying them to do (in part) all along?

    Isn't that what AT&T (and most cell providers) promise in their ads?

    Isn't that what they need to do to attract customers?

    No incentive?

    How about the word "competition"? They HAVE to continually improve their networks in order to fall behind.
     

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