Consumers and service providers alike, are thrilled about the future, most notably in the exciting implications of a ‘connected world’. Consequently, reasoning amongst the two groups will most certainly vary. Mobile users, listen to my words - DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR UNLIMITED DATA PLAN. Sure T-Mobile and others still offer it, but the cellular savvy know that other companies like Verizon and AT&T are essentially ‘where it’s at’. For starters, carefully scrutinize all ‘new offers’, weighing your decision before taking an attractive subsidy on a free phone, rendering your hard-earned unlimited data plan moot by being forced into a tiered/family plan. There are a number of paths to go here, and in this case, I’d recommend the one less traveled for the purposes of saving money and long-term entrapment.
By all means, continue to enjoy HD video, rich media, and robust offerings – with discretion and planning of course. Naturally, all of these great things consume exorbitant amounts of data, and it's especially difficult to keep track of such usage since these numbers are not as cut and dry as minutes. Though companies like AT&T and Verizon offer online data calculators to give ballpark figures for data use, it is hardly an exact science. Alas, you may quickly find yourself speeding towards or exceeding your cap, racking up an exorbitant bill in the process (Note: AT&T and Verizon charge $10 per GB in overages) All things considered, it’s simply impossible to keep track of usage progressively, with apps running in the background and data spikes incurred from streaming high definition video or audio – so what’s the problem if I’m holding onto my unlimited data plan, you ask?
Well, big providers have mulled this over for a long time, and are truly never losing on the infinite media playground. In fact, both AT&T and Verizon were found to have throttled the top 5 percent of data users. One you’ve been marked as a heavy data user, your access will be slowed during congested network times to free up bandwidth. What does this mean? It means you should definitely use Wi-Fi hotspots wherever possible to bypass the provider network. In the event you need to upgrade in the future, make sure your phone supports 4G LTE (with more becoming available as the technology matures). The reasoning for this? In short, unlimited users will not have to deal with that limit as both Verizon and AT&T have noted a handling of less than half their mobile data traffic on the 4G LTE network last year – this equates to less network strain, higher efficiency in data streaming, and zero governance over the enjoyment of a right you’ve earned - unlimited data.
Still, the number of unlimited data customers is beginning to dwindle – while usage is predicted to grow 13-fold over the next half decade, according to Cisco. In the report, the networking giant predicted that mobile data traffic will expand to about 46 times the total amount of mobile IP traffic since 2010, with more than 10 billion connected devices by 2017. In the meantime, service providers will continue to throw out lines with attractive offers attached to lure consumers into abandoning their boundless access which will cost them and not you in due time [better yet, cost them less while costing you the same].
For now, companies are trapped into continuing to offer unlimited data to existing customers by abiding to the original terms of contract, or face legal backlash. The catch-22 is that these long-time, loyal subscribers won’t be able to fully enjoy new rollouts with an outdated phone that struggles to run them. I offer this advice: for the avid user of advanced features (who still have an unlimited data plan), it simply makes sense to hold on tight to that infinite data allowance by purchasing new devices on eBay (or comparable online marketplace) for a one-time fee, and selling old ones to mitigate total cost. For the rest of us, high expectations are going to naturally come with likewise prices. Without vigilance, the term pay now or pay later comes to mind in more than a literal sense. Whatever your circumstances, I wish you the best.
This article was written by Michael Roden, a VoIP Enthusiast & writer at GetVoIP.com, a VoIP Provider directory and service comparison guide.