Getting rid of unlimited data plans is unfortunate but not entirely unexpected. I understand that wireless carriers are businesses and if they are not profitable we will lose them and end up with fewer options. What is concerning is the short sighted business models that put them in a situation where they cannot meet recent agreements and customers are expected to accept it. This is especially true when each wireless provider website and store is constantly pushing data consuming devices despite stating they are having issues keeping up with demand.
What many of the discussions on this topic seem to forget is that data use has not plateaued. Think about the amount of data used by cellular devices just a couple years ago compared to today. As Internet access became more ubiquitous, more and more data rich apps were developed and these features are increasingly promoted by the wireless providers. Now that customers are more fully using the abilities of their devices, the providers cry foul and want everyone to restrict use.
Anticipating that unlimited data plans were likely to end, I have been monitoring data usage with several tools on a handful of Android users for about six months. Interestingly, the provider's data use is always higher than any metering tool by up to 20% (most users show a difference of about 5%-10%). It also doesn't help that data usage from the carrier is reported about 24 hours late. This means that if a user experiences a high use day they may not know to stop using data and end up with a surprise overage. Customers are now expected to become data managers and be able to divine what applications and features will push them over the data ceiling.
Newer Android devices have the ability to limit data use for e-mail attachments and application updates. Unfortunately this doesn't help with streaming audio, video or updates from application sources like the Amazon Marketplace. What would be optimal is the ability to automatically stop wireless data use when you hit your threshold as opposed to letting you cross the threshold and then charge large fees. Unfortunately for consumers, preventing allowing accidental overages doesn???t make business sense for the carriers.
If we are going to have our data restricted, give us better tools to prevent overages and/or make the overage fees less expensive.
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