New iPhone Carriers – Data Caps vs. Unlimited

Verizon’s press release tries to make the company sound as if it is acting in the public good: “Customers within the top 5% of Verizon Wireless data users, may have their data speeds periodically reduced […] This is to make sure all users enjoy high quality network performance.” It’s a classic leveraging of Star Trek’s Spock’s famous quote “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” But–with both Verizon and AT&T–this means consumers pay for 3G data at speed, but if they dare to wholeheartedly embrace the service, they won’t get 3G speeds. If you’re on Verizon, then one data-hungry month will actually significantly impact your enjoyment of mobile data the next month, too–it’s almost like being grounded for eating too many of your vegetables.

Sprint, a brand-new iPhone carrier, is making hay while the sun shines and has revealed that when its customers get their hands on a Sprint-flavored iPhone this month, they’ll be able to enjoy an unlimited data option…with no hints of data throttling to come. The market is expecting this situation to rapidly change, however. It’s entirely plausible that Sprint may perform a climb-down in pretty short order (much as Verizon did when, with much fanfare it said it would support the CMDA iPhone 4 with unlimited plans…only to pull them months later). 

I’d switch to Sprint in a heartbeat if I had the upfront costs to break my AT&T contract and buy two new iPhones. But alas, I’ll have to limp along with my throttled AT&T network for another year and a half.



About Matthew Peterworth

I currently work as a Technology Specialist at Henderson Engineers in Kansas City – a Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing (MEP) design firm. Prior to that I was a Project Manager for Information Technology Services (ITS), the central IT department at the University of Texas at Austin. As of July 2008 I am a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) through BICSI. And as of June 2011 I am a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in the great state of Texas. Please follow me on Twitter @mpeterworth.

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