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Verizon Customers: Say So Long To Unlimited Data 303

BogenDorpher writes "Verizon will be eliminating its unlimited smartphone data plan this summer. No longer will one be able to pay $30 a month to have unlimited data. This move is designed to 'force heavy data users to pay more for mobile data.'"
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Verizon Customers: Say So Long To Unlimited Data

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  • by erice ( 13380 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @02:36AM (#36188762) Homepage

    This move is designed to 'force heavy data users to find a better phone vendor'

    Nah. That's being taken care of. T-Mobile is being borged into AT&T. Sprint will be soon be extinguished or merged out of existence.

    Verizon and AT&T will join together in the monetization of data users. The unlimited plans were just a temporary measure to get their users hooked. Now the surviving duopoly will apply frighteningly expensive overuse fees to encourage their addicts to pay out big bucks for large plans. It worked so well for voice. Did you expect anything else?

  • Re:Heavy users? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @03:16AM (#36188932)

    "Unlimited" means that you pay a fixed price and can use the network up to the limits that are due to the technology and the infrastructure capacity, not that you can swallow up the whole Google Earth database over your mobile connection.

    All carriers I have used - in Japan and Europe at least - publish information about the maximum capacity for speed, latency, etc. on their "unlimited" connections. It is then their responsibility to ensure that such capacity is available. Most users of the network understand this, and have no issues with the technology and infrastructure limits; the fixed plan within these limits is good, because you can plan ahead, and don't need to make complex calculations before opening the next email or web page.

    There is no "tragedy of the commons" in this situation at all.

  • by RanceJustice ( 2028040 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @05:50AM (#36189562)

    Over the past 3 years or so, nearly every nationwide Mobile provider in the USA has castrated their data service. "Unlimited" data used to be slower, EDGE or early 3G a couple years back, but despite the expense you didn't have to worry about overages. Now it seems only Sprint (perhaps?) has an "unlimited" plan. ATT and Verizon, switching over to these capped bandwidth isn't simply to save money or keep network congestion down, but rather its the same impetus that had the 80s and 90s phone companies charging 25/c a minute for long distance - to jack up fees on a monopolized industry under the guise of "paying what you use". While true "unlimited" plans were few and far between over the last decade, they usually simply transitioned to slowing your connection speed if you were using a ton more data than most at an inconvenient time. Now, you're paying per kilobyte for overages, on top of stupidly high costs of data plans. Look at how even the iPhone 1's original data plan compares to those today - it was a $20/month unlimited option with 200 included SMS! Now, you're looking at well over $80, plus SMS packages for the high-end "5gb of transfer" plan! .

    The problem is simple greed and it infests our entire system. Corporate giants for years told users "buy our new DSL/Cable/Fiber/3G/4G service.. and download more, more more! Get your movies! Get your music! Play Games" (Even when there wasn't much legal digital distribution, mind you). Not only did they benefit from upping subscription fees and only selectively rolling out broadband to the highest ROI areas, they also petitioned (read as: bought) government subsidy for "infrastructure improvements", common carrier agreements and more. Now, they figured out that instead of actually using our double-dipped tax dollars and subscription fees to actually expand infrastructure and give people the connectivity they want, its simpler to simply say "Sorry, you just can't download more than X per month. Yeah" and pocket the rest. Prices go up, service comes down and the user is meant to lick the boots of telecoms that have fucked over this nation's information infrastructure. There is only one solution.

    We need to take that money and control out of the hands of private companies, and invest it in We The People. Nationalize our entire information infrastructure. Prior to Eisenhower's Interstate, the physical roadway system was heading towards the same kind of mess as today's information highways - unpaved roads, shoddy maintenance, only serviceable where profitable, and tolls were levied constantly. Even the fucking ROMANS figured out that the first thing to do when expanding their empire was to nationalize the roadway system and kick all the bandits collecting tolls along travel pathways the hell out. Those bandits are just named ATT and Comcast today! Right now, the wire in the ground, despite the fact its is lain with my tax dollars, is the property of a private company, which squelches competition. There's not a piece of "Big 4" infrastructure that is not taxpayer funded in some way, so we need to simply nationalize what we already own! Then we can start rolling out true universal broadband initiatives and give our nation competitive speeds and coverage. There can be a role to play for private industry, able to lease access to the public hardware to create ISPs, with the stipulation that they must simply be a "dumb pipe" and maintain neutrality - however, private industry should never forget who their masters are - We The People through our Government - rather than the Government being a toy of private moneyed interests. Some form of this is how most European and Asian nations have ascended to gigabit broadband speeds while much of our nation is floundering with 256k and big spenders in the most cosmopolitan areas are paying $50+ monthly for 20mb.

    Telecoms aren't going to stop clenching their grip until we break their fingers.

  • Re:Heavy users? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kavafy ( 1322911 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @06:20AM (#36189666)

    Virgin Media claims that their broadband is "unlimited" but actually the package I am on (10 meg) is max 1.5GB between 4PM and 9PM. Go over that and you are punished with massive speed reductions that makes iPlayer and YouTube unwatchable. There are four of us in the house and we hit that limit every other day.

    Isn't this the whole problem? ISPs should not be allowed to advertise their services as unlimited, because they can never actually be unlimited. They should be forced to state their usage caps clearly and up front, instead of pretending that something's unlimited and then hiding all the limits in the small print.

  • by Valen0 ( 325388 ) <> on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:00AM (#36189830)

    I think that the data cap moves we are seeing in the data communications sector represent a market-wide trend to protect the existing profitable "value added" services such as voice calling and premium television services. Companies seem to be afraid of becoming just another "dumb pipe" as connection speeds get fast enough to handle third party "value added" services (e.g. Netflix and Google Voice). These companies believe that, by using data caps and unregulated third party data usage meters, they can ensure the protection of their highly profitable "value added" service sector. In many respects, this practice represents a trend of "predatory pricing" and "refusal to deal" in the communications industry.

    For example... In the cellular world, the 5 GB data cap effectively tolls previously "free" services such as Google Voice. On the broadband side of things, a 150 to 250 GB cap effectively limits the ability of Netflix and Hulu to compete with the first party in providing premium high definition video content.

    In many ways, these data cap moves are representative of an anti-competitive protectionist oligopoly. They also represent an end-run around the principals of network neutrality. By using unregulated meters that only bill for third party network usage, these companies have effectively "rigged the pump" to ensure that they can charge almost any rate for almost any service. Better regulation and oversight is needed at the Federal Government level to ensure fairness and competition in this otherwise anti-competitive industry.

  • Re:Heavy users? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teh kurisu ( 701097 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @08:25AM (#36190312) Homepage

    That's a great feature list, but it has nothing to do with my argument that there were no usable smartphones before the iPhone.

    I still have my old Samsung SGH-Z560 flip phone. It has most of the features that my current iPhone has, but actually using those features is an absolute nightmare. it was built with a checklist like yours, an not the user, in mind.

  • Re:Heavy users? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GooberToo ( 74388 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @10:26AM (#36191592)

    Says who? You think cellular networks predicted people streaming Netflix on cell phones?

    You mean like what has been advertised on television since 3G services were turned on around the world? Naw...there's no way they could have known people would use the exact service they claimed to be offering.

  • I said fuck it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @11:20AM (#36192174) Journal

    Turned off my Cell phone plan.

    Look, this whole Cell Phone internet shit is stupid. How fucking fast do we need stupid ass shit to get to our cell phones? You have the corporations, making it so crap is bigger, streaming is important, while the cell phone co's are putting limits on downloads and charging more for over small amounts. They don't care if they sell more data plans even though there's isn't enough resources.

    What is so fucking important today that needs this tech, that wasn't important 10 years ago? By the way people are, you'd think we didn't survive before the internet.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith