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New Mobile Plan Pools Data On Unlimited Devices 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-avenue-for-family-strife dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "PC Magazine reports that Ting, a new reseller of Sprint's voice, 3G and WiMax services, has a new approach to mobile pricing that lets customers buy minutes, messages, and data separately, and allows households to pool them to an unlimited number of phones and data devices on one account. 'Household data plans are the next step for consumers, mainly because people are adding more connected screens and devices to their lifestyle,' writes Kevin Tofel. 'And different household members have different data needs; some use a little while others consume gobs of gigabytes. Why not average out the usage across multiple devices?' Both AT&T and Verizon have hinted at offering shared data plans in the future, but the devil's in the details, says Tofel. 'My hope is that family data plans come soon, to all carriers, just like we have for family voice and messaging plans.'"
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New Mobile Plan Pools Data On Unlimited Devices

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  • We are discussing mobile plans from a specific country
    Isnt that news a little bit too specific for a global tech site?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We are discussing mobile plans from a specific country
      Isnt that news a little bit too specific for a global tech site?

      That's paid spam.

    • by CrackedButter (646746) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:09AM (#38926481) Homepage Journal

      Not if this is the first of its kind and could be copied around the world. That's the hope right?

      • Only, it's not the first of its kind.

        http://www.rogers.com/web/content/dataSharing?setLanguage=en&setProvince=ON [rogers.com]

        Just off the top of my head. They were flogging that as a great new feature a year ago. Not that I would ever buy from that particular company, I think they're evil incarnate. But they did offer data sharing a long time ago. Putting it on an "unlimited" data plan is new, but the main reason Rogers doesn't do that is that they don't have unlimited data plans. I imagine that if they did have unl

        • The optimist is me says they will if people in a sizeable manner starting taking Ting up on their offer.

          Btw I said 'if' in the previous post. I live in the UK so I didn't make to make a sure statement as I didn't really know. But thanks for letting me know.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I'm not the target demographic, either, even though I'm in the US. I live alone and seldom have more than 3 devices sending/receiving data and have unlimited plans for both wired internet and mobile. But the concept is worth discussing, just as stuff BT pulls is.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Minutes" is an antiquated concept. It's all data. VoIP is here to stay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      IDK about cell networks, but many landline networks are still circuit switched I think
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No, they are not. There's a dedicated line from the phone to the local exchange, and at least if you can get DSL, the circuit ends there. The digitization of the phone network was the reason why 56k modems worked: The fastest mode was quasi-digital instead of modulation/demodulation.

        • The physical circuits are long gone in most places but on conventional digital phone networks keeping a call open keeps a reserved slice of bandwidth (a "virtual circuit") for the length of the call. Afaict on the landline side while telcos are starting to roll out VOIP there is still a lot of conventional virtual circuit based network around too. On the mobile side afaict virtually all phones in use today are still using circuit switched voice protocols (LTE is supposed to change this). IIRC circuit switch

          • Mobile phones sold in the last 7 years or so don't even have CSD or Fax support anymore. No regrets - they were low performance and a PITA to support. The packet switched data is superior in all ways.

            On the other hand about 95% of all telephone calls (fixed or mobile) use at least on one segment virtual circuits over various TDM transports, even if in some parts of the world the SS7 signaling has migrated to the SCTP/IP based SIGTRAN. Very few calls are converted directly to VoIP or other packet based vo
    • by sorak (246725)

      "Minutes" is an antiquated concept. It's all data. VoIP is here to stay.

      People still would prefer to know how much of the final product they are getting, rather than something that can be used to estimate the quantity of the final product. If your primary use for a cell phone is conversation (mine is not), then you don't request 1gb worth of usage. You want to know how much talk time is available. Just as someone at a restaurant wouldn't want to request $3 worth of hamburger, or chicken measured by the amount of feed needed to produce that quantity of meat.

      • by SQLGuru (980662)

        People are starting to equate data size with other sizes already. How many minutes of music does an MP3 Player hold? How many pictures does a 2GB SD card hold? etc. Most ISPs even have a handy little chart that shows you.

    • by OldTOP (1118645)
      Sort of. But all data is not created equal. VoIP requires many small packets which consume more packet switching capacity than a smaller number of larger packets typical of other data. VoIP also typically requires higher QoS than other data. Of course that can all be swamped by streaming video.
  • Good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:04AM (#38926451) Journal

    Why stop there? Why not pool everyone's data together, and charge us all the same price?

    • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zouden (232738) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:22AM (#38926537)

      What would you prefer, being charged per megabyte or per device? Because most people are charged per device. $40/month for data on your phone, fine, but then you want a sim card in your iPad? That's another data plan at $40/month, regardless of how much you use.

      The article is proposing a usage-based system that's independent of the number of devices. That's a much better arrangement IMHO.

      • by sudonim2 (2073156)
        With tethering and WiFi Hotspots, if my phone has unlimited data, every other device I have has unlimited data. The only question is how many hoops I have to jump through to bypass my carrier wanting to charge me for using my devices in the most obvious fashion.
    • by OldTOP (1118645)
      If I had teenage kids I might agree with you.
    • by jpmorgan (517966)

      As someone who uses almost no data, I don't see why I should subsidize your mobile internet usage.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        As someone who uses data, I don't see why I should be subsidizing your use of all the infrastructure that gets created because of people using data.
      • by evilviper (135110)

        As someone who uses almost no data, I don't see why I should subsidize your mobile internet usage.

        I'm sure the early adopters feel the same way about you...

        Cellular bandwidth is ephemeral... Pumping a GByte of data costs next to nothing. It's expanding the network to handle a large number of people doing that at the same time, which is expensive. And in that case, a technological solution is desirable and workable.. If a certain cell tower is maxed-out, throttle the highest bandwidth users until there's

  • by exploder (196936) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:27AM (#38926557) Homepage

    'My hope is that family data plans come soon, to all carriers, just like we have for family voice and messaging plans.'

    The family plan will come to your carrier just as soon as they've worked out the necessary details, i.e. made sure you'll end up paying just a little more than you do now.

  • by lkcl (517947) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:41AM (#38926607) Homepage

    ahh, i can just see the divorce settlement arguments already, over who owns the contract, who owns the bill, and who's going to pay for little johnny's excessive Minecraft and Runescape usage...

  • Wow, "New"? Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by iONiUM (530420) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @10:50AM (#38926667) Homepage Journal

    I'm in Canada, with Rogers, and while they do suck, I have had a family data plan for 1GB (actually I share everything else too) with my wife for 3 years now..

    I find it extremely odd that the US does not have this... it's like hearing they don't have wheels, or fire.

    • by creepynut (933825)

      The US? Forget that, as far as I know none of the other carriers in Canada do it either! I'm on Telus and they certainly don't although I'm not paying for a data plan at all.

    • So, in Canada, a rate plan is considered 'technology'.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      I find it extremely odd that the US does not have this... it's like hearing they don't have wheels, or fire.

      It's not "fire" it's "sub-prime mortgages"... This isn't some fundamental feature, it's a billing gimmick.

      Read TFA... You'd probably get a BETTER deal going with Virgin Mobile's normal (unlimited) plan, unless you have several devices you use, but barely ever.

  • by Lije Baley (88936) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @11:56AM (#38927173)

    They will sell their services at the greatest price which the market will bear. In other words, the price will only come down when we stop merely gritting our teeth and forego the data plan or switch to a competitor with a better deal.

    • by tepples (727027)

      the price will only come down when we stop merely gritting our teeth and forego the data plan

      Virgin Mobile USA won't activate a voice-only plan on an Android phone, even if I have Wi-Fi everywhere I plan to use the data features.

      • by Lije Baley (88936)

        True, foregoing a data plan these days usually means foregoing a smart phone.

        • by tepples (727027)
          Then how do I run smartphone apps that aren't ported to Windows or Linux without a smartphone?
          • by evilviper (135110)

            Then how do I run smartphone apps that aren't ported to Windows or Linux without a smartphone?

            Android has been ported to x86 (90%+ of Android apps are java-derivative based, and so, architecture agnostic), and the Android emulator runs on Linux and Windows.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        Virgin Mobile USA won't activate a voice-only plan on an Android phone, even if I have Wi-Fi everywhere I plan to use the data features.

        But you WANT data service on your smart phone. Being able to look-up something when you're in the absolute middle of nowhere is the killer app of smart phones. As a single example, practically all the driving-direction apps on smart phones are ONLINE apps, so when you take a detour, it needs to hit the servers for a new route.

  • A quickie check for my needs shows a about a $20/month savings, as I would get hotspot which VZW charges for...

    BUT the big LOSS is COVERAGE. Like the adage says, location, location, location, and sprexhostgin has crap coverage, period. Where my VZW has full bars.

    So huge loss of coverage in areas I need and might need it to save $240 year and get a feature that while it might be nice, if I have no coverage is useless.

    Thanks, nut not thanks.

    I like the plan idea to mix and match what I need, but first off you

    • by mdf356 (774923)

      I'm on Verizon, and the unlimited data probably doesn't help me. I'm not a big mobile user. Oddly, the minutes for our two iPhones are shared with my wife, but they didn't share the texts per month, so I have some and she doesn't.

  • by Richy_T (111409) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @01:55PM (#38928253) Homepage

    At&T used to offer shared data on their family plans. Unfortunately, they changed it to individual shortly before we went to smart phones. Unfortunately, it's AT&T or Verizon in this area and at the time, the plans worked out slightly cheaper under AT&T. If there was someone who offered something with sane pricing, I'd be on them in an instant but there's that whole government enforced monopoly (quadropoly?)/cartel thing going on. I'm thinking of going prepay which actually seems to offer the better pricing model.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Unfortunately, it's AT&T or Verizon in this area

      Sprint does (free) roaming on Verizon, and they have cheaper plans.

      I'm thinking of going prepay which actually seems to offer the better pricing model.

      Of course it does. Contracts have always been scams, hide the up-front cost, and charge 2-4X as much per month, oh yeah, and throw in taxes and hidden fees.

  • by utkonos (2104836) on Saturday February 04, 2012 @07:25PM (#38930383)
    Why not have more companies that provide phone, messaging, and data service? Why allow TMobile and AT&T to retain their near monopoly over GSM service in the US? Sure, they may be flirting with a family data plan, but I'm know that it will be just like their family talk plans, overpriced and unfair. The only way that mobile phone service in the US is going to improve is to have more providers and stop allowing TMobile and AT&T to stifle competition.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      Why not have more companies that provide phone, messaging, and data service?

      There are several more companies. Why aren't you using them?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mobile_network_operators_of_the_Americas#United_States [wikipedia.org]

      Why allow TMobile and AT&T to retain their near monopoly over GSM service in the US?

      What's so compelling about GSM? Is it really so crucial to you to be able to use the same phone when traveling across continents?

      • by utkonos (2104836)
        I find it funny that you're defending mobile service in the US. Do you own a passport? Most people in the US don't. I do actually travel frequently outside the US, and having one Android phone for anywhere I find myself is valuable. Are you a shill for the phone company?
        • by evilviper (135110)

          Most people in the US don't. I do actually travel frequently outside the US

          Perfect. So you're directly admitting that your requirement for GSM is one that "most people" don't have. You also implicitly admit that you know there are alternatives to that would eliminate that need. So basically you're ranting about nothing but the fact that the US market isn't designed the way you'd most like it to be.

      • by utkonos (2104836)
        Not to mention that support for non-GSM Android phones seems to be being scrapped.
  • You may know Ting better as TUCOWS.

    I wonder if they have an option for downloading Trumpet Winsock onto your phone.

/earth: file system full.

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