Last week at&t announced a new tiered plan for pricing data to smartphones like my iPhone. All you can eat data plans are gone. Two news plans emerge at 200Mb and 2Gb per month. Both cost less than the old unlimited model.
My plan is grandfathered in. Phew!
First a note about some at&t hanky panky. In their discussion of the new plans they talk about average monthly usage. That would be OK if they billed on average monthly usage. They don’t. My monthly average usage has been under their new cap, but I still have two months above it!
An at&t customer who fits in their new criteria might still have to pay overage charges even while averaging below the limit. Under their new plan I would. And, of course, unlike nearly everything else in this world the price per byte of data goes up as you use more under at&t’s new rate structure.
This change is bad for innovation which is bad for the consumer. I was about to lay out my reasons when I read Free Press Policy Counsel M. Chris Riley’s statement:
“While AT&T asserts that its high-end 2 GB cap will only impact the heaviest users, the fact is that today’s heavy user is tomorrow’s average user. Internet overcharging schemes like the one AT&T proposes will discourage innovative new uses and stifle healthy growth in the mobile broadband economy.
Devices like the iPhone or one of the killer Android phones or any still to-be-seen hardware are all still in the serendipitous stage. Much of what you get from them is a surprise until you actually get it! New methods and technologies are constantly being introduced. I didn’t buy my phone thinking it would be how I watch baseball or listen to NPR or guide my car, but it does all those things and more.
I expect it to do even more in the future though I have no idea what that might be!
Smartphones are transformational devices. We need to nurture their use, not stifle it. Unfortunately at&t’s plan does just that!