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You can pry my bandwidth from my cold dead hands!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Frank, Jun 2, 2010.

  1. Frank

    Frank
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    AT&T is going to eliminate unlimited data plans for smart-phones to help cut costs by giving incentives to users to stream data more conservatively.

    FOCUS: Do you think it's right to charge people for using exorbitant amounts of data on their phones or do you think the unlimited plans should stay?

    I think this is great, 2% of the population is using about 40% of the data and everyone else is implicitly subsidizing their monthly bill by paying for more than they use themselves. I equate it to an "unlimited electricity plan" where the guy who has all energy efficient appliances and is a tight ass about turning off lights paying as much as the guy pumping central air with his windows open.

    That said...

    Alt Focus: What other "unlimited" products/services could/should have pay per usage fees?

    Personally I'd shit a brick if I had to pay overage charges on my home internet (yes, I'm a blatant hypocrite) since I stream movies from Netflix like three times a week and play on PSN a lot. Not to mention I live with 3 other guys all of home are bigger dorks than me (scary, I know).

    Another touchy one that I've seen in some towns in New England is that they charge variably for waste. They have trash pickup, but will only pick up trash in bags purchased from the town for $1-$5 per bag, they will however take recycling for free. The purpose is to get people to think about how much waste they produce and try to recycle more. I like this from an ideological viewpoint, but in practice it's a pain in the fucking ass and a bunch of people end up dumping stuff illegally so they don't have to deal with paying it.
     
  2. MrPrime

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    Its cool and all that they are concerned about the AT&T experience, but changing the price structures are not really going to help. People will use what they want, when they want it.

    What they have ensured is that some poor sap will bitch and moan when he goes to 201 Mb of data on the phone and then has to pay $15 for 200Mb that he didn't really know he was getting.

    If the data had a limited roll over, or more of a pay as you go idea, buy 200mb and then it sends you a text saying "You are out of data, want more?" when you run out. This would make people have an active reminder that they are using data and it costs money. Where as their new system, the data is just a number on the monthly bill.
     
  3. Elset

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    Upon first reading this news I was pretty upset. Then 2 minutes later I looked online at my actual usage. I only use a max of 150 MB of data on my iPhone. Well, that's the data that I get charged for. I spend 80% of my time in my apartment or office, so use the Wifi there, which is data I don't get charged for. By getting rid of unlimited plans, I can save $15 bucks a month, I'm all for it.
     
  4. Frank

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    I disagree with this. The rich and the careless will still use what they want when they want, but I think many if not most people that teeter on the edge of the 200 MB, 2 GB or who go way beyond will watch their consumption.

    Just like if you paid a flat fee for electricity you'd leave shit running 24/7, but since most people pay 100% of their electricity bill they turn off lights, don't crank AC too high and turn it off when they're gone. Like it or not your financial stake in your personal resource consumption will ultimately affect your behavior.

    As a customer I agree here, much more comprehensive solution. What I'd like to know is how much these phone companies make by gouging customers that make minor mistakes. Would it significantly hurt their bottom line or is it a negligible part of their revenue?
     
  5. Primer

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    It's very rare that people actually know how much bandwidth they're using. I know people who use their iPhones and such as their main source of internet because they get unlimited bandwidth. The iPad will have 3G access, it doesn't have a dialtone per say; things like skype, yes; and will just suck your bandwidth dry. Unfortunately, the way things are moving in the future, large bandwidth will be necessary. Maximum rates on 3G alone are 14 Mbps alone, consider that when you're doing your calculations because that will suck your silly 200 MB up pretty damn fast; yes, I realize that is a hypothetical rate and you'll be hard pressed to hit it but it's still possible, Sprint did tests with 4G systems and even they're only getting 3-5 Mbps download rates.

    The biggest bottleneck for technology in this day and age is easily the Telco. They're slow and unmoving when it comes to new technologies, 3G is a ten year old technology. It's because of the Telco that we are unable to implement large scale, high data systems quickly and efficiently.

    A single megabit of data is hardly even noticed within the torrent of data that flows throw networks. I've seen and worked on multiplexing systems that carry Terrabit per second speeds; never forget that the Telco wants your money, they will nickle and dime you until you either give up or die.
     
  6. Frank

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    Agreed, but when you have to shell out $100 for just a months worth of service you'll try and find out real fucking fast what's sucking up your bandwidth, limit or eliminate the source which will lower the cost to the provider who will (ideally) pass those savings to consumers.

    Correct me if I'm wrong about the carrier saving money though, I have absolutely no estimate of what the marginal cost of data is.

    This is another interesting point, how quickly will these companies need to shift their plans? Will a 200 MB limit be laughably small within 6 months or will it be standard for at least 18 months? I'm not very tech savvy so I have no idea, but I could see it being a huge problem if you sign onto a plan with a data capacity that's irrelevant inside of three months.
     
  7. Primer

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    North Americans (and people from Spain) on average have the highest bills for their wireless needs; North Americans have some of the worst service for the price point in the world. 4G service is around the corner, in fact, it's reality here in Edmonton - you're pushing upwards of 128Mbps per phone. You think your plans will get any cheaper? I think not.
     
  8. john_b

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    They also announced that iPhone will get data-tethering with the new OS release this summer, which may have something to do with it. It's one thing to use a bunch of data with the phone, it's another when you can use the phone's network connection/bandwidth to connect a laptop to the internet. The new tethering plan will cost an additional $20 and you have to select the new 2GB/month for $25 data plan to use it.
     
  9. redbullgreygoose

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    I think it's bullshit. But, I don't have AT&T. I doubt it matters though. I'm sure Verizon will follow suit. The big excuse they give for the "unlimited plans" is to "help" customers from being charged with excessive bandwidth. Now they're not even willing to offer that. They're just trying to screw their customers into going over. If the mobile phone companies are going to start making their customers buy data like this it should at least be optional. Since you're not "helping" me from incurring outrageous data charges anymore I should at least be able to not want to pay for any data if I want to.
     
  10. Muley05

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    The unlimited plans that are out there now aren't really unlimited. If you consistently go over 5GB a month (which is a lot) you will start getting charged extra by your provider (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, whoever). There is only a small percentage of accounts that exceed the limit, and those that are going over are almost certainly using their phone to tether, which is not allowed by the service provider (but there are plenty of apps as workarounds).
     
  11. syphon

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    What are you all bitching about?

    Seriously, in Australia there is no such thing as unlimited data/downloads (well it does exist but it is insanely expensive compared to capped plans) at the moment on my iPhone i get 700mb downloads, which my carrier wont let me use for tethering unless I pay an additional $10 every month.

    Our net is shitty too, I am connected at 1.5mbps/50gb download limit at the moment I could get onto a faster plan but because of the infrastructure I would only be getting a max of 3mbps and it would cost me pretty much double the price and I would get less of a download quota.
     
  12. Muses

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    Cracked has an interesting article that in part explains why ISPs will probably have to eliminate unlimited plans for internet access too (either that or give up net neutrality, but that's a whole 'nother thread right there).

    Scroll down to #1 on the list:

     
  13. Solaris

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    Internet is fast becoming a utility as useful as water and electricity. I know I'd rather my water was cut off for a day than the internet.

    What this says to me is that it should be nationalised, unlike the UK in America it seems most people have no choice of internet provider, so it makes sense to me that it should be a 'not for profit' organisation running it. The day I lose my unlimited data plan however will be a very sad one indeed.
     
  14. redbullgreygoose

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    So people are using more bandwidth, but is it becoming cheaper to transfer this data? Is there any reason to believe that it will become cheaper to supply bandwidth in the future? Haven't ISPs done this before? Then AOL came and offered unlimited data for a fixed price, right? I guess I thought this was behind us. But since it isn't, is there any reason to believe ISPs will be able to offer unlimited data again in the future?

    edit: I say this like it's already set in stone. I know no action has been taken yet. But it still sucks that this is the future of internet data pricing.
     
  15. Frank

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    We (America) do have options for providers, depending on where you live you have different options. Personally I can choose from only 2 companies, but when I was in the city I could choose between 4 or possibly more.

    I don't want to get too political here but I think most Americans would agree that a government run internet service would be a fucking shit show. Sure we would start out with cheap unlimited plans, but four years of financial loss (I'm not joking, it will take at least this long for someone to do anything) we'll end up with higher taxes to fund the service. With a private company it's "find a way to be profitable or get out of the way" (unless they're 'too big to fail' but that's another can of worms we don't need to get into here) whereas government services are "try your best but we can always raise taxes if you make a mistake."

    Really what this boils down to is do you think people should be allowed the freedom to use as much data as they want and have the guys using < 2 GB paying for the guys using more data or do you think people should be responsible for their usage? For me it's a tough pill to swallow since I use a ton of data on my home internet but I think people should ultimately be responsible for what they use, that type of model generally results in lower use of resources which leads overall savings.
     
  16. redbullgreygoose

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    The thing is people don't "waste" data. They only use it when they use it. It's not like leaving the water running in the bathroom or something. When you're done downloading whatever you download the use of the bandwidth stops. Yes, this probably would lead to overall less data usage. But that would mean some sort of deprivation in the amount of access people would like to have. And that my friends, fucking sucks. You would think that the outrageously marked up amount of money these fuckers charge you to send text messages would cover the smartphone bandwidth.
     
  17. The Beer Baron

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    In Canada we don't. Sure there are 8 different cell companies across the country, but they are all ultimately controlled by Bell or Rogers. Essentially a two-party monopoly. And since taxes control what the government piques it's interest at, they pretty much have the CRTC (FCC for you Yanks) in their back pockets. Fuck it took Virgin almost two years of petitioning just to be granted a Communications Licence in Canada because Bell and Rogers yelled and screamed about "foreign intrests" or some shit.

    I'm not joking when I say this, but I'm taxed at 35% of my income, as well as my cigarettes and booze. I can't fucking wait for Google's promised "free" wifi service to go public. I will be on that like white on rice.

    With a private company it's more like "How much can we get away with before the consumer goes to our competition?"

    Yes. Yes I do. Because data is ridiculously cheap to move compared to voice or Voip. I read an article a few months ago that said essentially, the reason text messages are limited to 140 characters, is because text messages are sent over the same wave length as the signal that your cell uses to identify itself. Basically that means that signals your phone is sending to your providers infrastructure about it's ID and present location are piggy-backing text messages of 1-4KB. And they've been charging us for this service for what, 8 years?
    See this is where common sense and the All Mighty Dollar conflict. Ma Bell wants to charge you for data used. Common sense says they should charge me for the speed at which I want to use that data, not how much of it. It shouldn't be the amount Bit Torrent downloads, because traffic flows at a consistent speed over pretty much the most of the internet. What I would pay for, is preferential traffic patterns and/or faster downloads. Not what, or how much I'm downloading.

    This is just another way for Ma Bell to raise rates to pay for infrastructure they should have been investing in all along instead of lining their fucking pockets at the expense of the rest of us.
     
  18. The Beer Baron

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    Can't edit this late in the game, but I wanted to expand on a rep point. The US is a free market where pretty much anyone with the money to put up, or rent the infrastructure, can start a cell company/ISP. In Canada you have to have the money to do both that, AND lobby the government for approval.

    If the rep poster happens to be able to post the article I originally mentioned (but cant find) I'd appreciate it..
     
  19. Frank

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    Wow, is that 35% of total income? Do you get a government subsidized hand job every April?

    Well put.

    If data is that cheap then why will 98% of people see savings in this new model? I'm asking this as a legitimate question since I know nothing about the cost of data. Just from a business standpoint I find it hard to believe that AT&T thinks that giving 98% of customers a discount and putting data surcharges on the other 2% who will most likely change their behavior and consume less is a profitable move unless data costs serious money. Again, I could be wrong, but I just don't see it.

    Now you're just putting words in my mouth!