It seems the explosive growth of smartphone use has had some unintended consequences: U.S. carriers are moving towards tiered data. While some carriers have had "soft" caps for years, we've recently seen a move towards hard caps. "Tiered" plans have long been standard in other parts of the world, but the simple difference is that US carriers charge significantly more across the board - be it basic plans (just minutes), add-on's (such as texting), or data (whether used on a plan or as-you-go).
In case you haven't yet seen the actual costs of Verizon's plans, here's a reminder copied straight from our analysis.
... they don’t add any value whatsoever for VZW subscribers, and their sole raison d’être seems to be raping subscribers’ wallets further still. Have a look for yourself:
- 2GB – $30/month
- 5GB – $50/month
- 10GB – $80/month
- Overages – $10/1GB
No, this isn’t a nightmare. The same price you’re currently paying for unlimited data ($30) will, if this rumor is to be believed, soon get you just 2GB per month. In fact, the closest thing to limitless data is the 10GB/month plan, which will cost nearly thrice the amount of money you’re already handing over to Verizon on a monthly basis.
But it gets worse. Want tethering? Add an additional $20 to one of those three ridiculously expensive fees. For those too lazy to do the math, that means:
- 4GB – $50/month
- 7GB – $70/month
- 12GB – $100/month
The good news? If you’re currently serving a contract, your old unlimited plan won’t be taken away, but you’ll probably have to sign up for one of these new data plans once you upgrade to a new handset (though Kellex isn’t completely sure of that).
Ridiculous indeed. You may not be a Verizon customer, but odds are good that AT&T and T-Mobile will move in the same direction (even further than they already are, that is).
So what's the point of this diatribe? We're just curious to see how many people will actually be affected; according to Nielsen, the average Android user consumes about 582MB of data per month, but we have no idea what the standard deviation is on that - that is to say, how wide the curve is on usage.
Sound off in the poll, and drop us a line in the comments to share your thoughts.