The US mobile revolution looks like it might be stalled by telcos ending their unlimited access schemes.
According to Digital Trends, Verizon Wireless wants to offer a restricted, less expensive data plan for its smartphone users Verizon customers will get a connection for $15 but will only be allowed 150MB of data access. If a user exceeds this arbitrary limit, a 10 cent charge is added for each additional megabyte.
While these sorts of packages are what we have to put up with in Europe, the US has been a little reluctant to bring them in.
The Land of the Free has always been proud of having unlimited access and generally the feeling amongst consumers is that anything less is somehow wrong.
The Verizon package will see the telco charging 10 cents a megabyte, with a $15 minimum fee. But the carrier will, however, continue to offer “unlimited” data access for $29.99 at least for now.
The problem is that 150MB of data is soon eaten up on a smartphone. All you have to do is watch a few YouTube videos, browse a few websites, and download a podcast and you’re done.
Observers in the US think that many users may end up paying more than $30 in excesses if they use their phone too much.
Verizon is following a similar move from AT&T which completely eliminated its “unlimited” $29.99 data plan in favor of a $15 plan that includes 200MB and a $25 plan with 2GB of data.
If you go over your limit you get walloped by an additional $15 which gives you another 50MB. If you go over that you get hit by an additional $10 which buys a 1GB of data.
All up, it looks like the big US telcos are hitting consumers with a bewildering number of plans which almost certainly will see many punters having to pay more for data.
This could actually stall any planned mobile revolution as much of the new technology demands a lot more mobile bandwidth to be worthwhile. The feeling is that 4G will make life a lot worse for people.