The death of unlimited continues as Verizon introduces tiered data plans

Verizon_tiered_data

Oh, how I will miss unlimited data plans. First, AT&T got rid of them, then T-Mobile followed, and Sprint began edging closer to tiered plans. Now, according to evidence found by Droid Life, Verizon has also decided to switch to tiered pricing for data.

The new data plans are slated to roll out on July 7 and will be universal across 3G and 4G. This means there will be no 4G surcharge, unlike Sprint. As usual, those who are already locked into contracts can keep their unlimited data until their contract runs out, but will likely have to switch to the new pricing when they renew.

For those of us who are average data users, the new plans actually seem quite fair. The lowest tier offers 2GB of data for $30 a month, the second offers 5GB for $50 a month, and the highest tier offers 10GB for $80 a month. An extra $20 a month will get you tethering along with an extra 2GB of data. If you do the math, the cheapest tethering plan will set you back $50 and include 4GB of data, the middle tier will cost $70 and include 7GB of data, and for $100 a month you can get a whopping 12GB of data.

As AT&T already said when they introduced tiered plans, there are very few users who go over the 2GB cap. This means that having tiered plans is not so bad, right? Well, not exactly. While it is true that most users will never come near to even the lowest Verizon data cap, users that like to take advantage of media like Netflix and their smartphone's tethering abilities could reach their data limits relatively easily.

However, for most technology users, unlimited data plans are a matter of principle. When the internet first exploded, it was largely due to the internet service providers of the time offering unlimited data access. If they had imposed limits then, we may never have thought of things like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, which all use a lot of bandwidth. Facebook might not have been feasible either, because much of the idea centers around photo sharing.

Bill Gates once said, "640K ought to be enough for anybody" in reference to desktop RAM.

The computer I am typing on right now currently has 8GB of RAM, a far cry from the old 640K. Basically, this means that as technology progresses, we will continue using more and more data. Although 12GB may seem like plenty now, in the near future it may seem like a measly amount. Even if tiered data plans are not inherently bad, I think that we should be wary of becoming too used to having our data consumption capped. Once companies begin to throttle data, they will not want to go back. When we reach that point, we may have inadvertently slowed the progress of internet innovation simply by accepting tiered data plans. Here's hoping we can keep unlimited data around.

[Droid Life]
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Aaron Orquia

Aaron Orquia is an associate editor at Pocketables. He has been using Android and Linux since he bought his first computer years ago, and his interest in technology, software, and tweaking both to work just right has only grown stronger since then. His current gadgets include a OnePlus One, a Pebble smartwatch, and an Acer C720 Chromebook.

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