With AT&T, and soon it seems, Verizon, dumping their unlimited data plans for tiered pricing plans, does the mean the end of unlimited mobile data? Sprint and T-Mobile still offer it, but for how long? One thing unlimited data usage has shown us is that bandwidth is not so unlimited. AT&T has faced sharp criticism over it’s poor data network, which is frequently overwhelmed by users of the data hogging iPhone. Apple themselves have even criticized it (yet then turned around and gave the company the exclusive rights to provide data service to the iPad. Go figure!) Their response was to switched to tiered pricing data plans. Data cards used to come with unlimited data, but every carrier has since slapped a 5GB cap on them, blaming bandwidth issues. These days cell phones have gone from simply being phones to being all in one communications and internet devices. It used to be that you’d hear the kids yapping away on their phones. Then Nextel phones and Direct Connect became all the rage and they screamed into them instead. Now you see most of them typing rather than talking. I’d be willing to bet most people text, email, and surf the web on their phones more than they talk on them!
I think it’s clear that if we want unlimited data to stay, there are going to have to be some serious commitments to improving network infrastructure and increasing bandwidth. What do you think? Are you okay with tiered pricing? Do you use a lot of data each month? Let us know what you think about the future of mobile data.