This is something that Anne Onomoose wrote and posted to Google+ on Sunday, August 17th, 2014 and something that I felt I should share. You can find her original G+ post here: Why I Should Have Unlimited Data For Free Even If I Don’t Use That Much. It’s something that I don’t understand just as she doesn’t as to why we don’t have unlimited data on cell phone plans and why we are constantly being charged for data overages in today’s technological world.
Like the rest of you I’ve tried to be budget conscious throughout the rise of mobile. My first lesson in mobile economics came in high school as I clutched my photo ID in my hot little hand and wandered the mall like everyone else did. I hopped from kiosk to kiosk and hut to hut looking for my first cell phone. I was denied each time over a “lack of credit”. I ended up dropping a load of baby sitting money to buy a Nokia 3210 and a pre-paid TracFone plan.
Trac phone became the bane of my existence as it excelled at the time in making people sweat nickels and dimes until they bled. Trac phone to me would forever be synonymous with pain and suffering and anxiety over seconds on a clock.
As mobile took off, the pricing model of carriers changed, paving the way for more and more people to own, and actually be able to use, a cell phone.
Fast forward to…. Errr…. Let’s say 7 or 8 years ago? I tried again with a pre-paid service. Boost Mobile to be specific. It was at that time that a new word was on the lips of every cell packing geek wannabe and corporate hustler…. Data. Oh god how data became the Holy grail! We suddenly needed it in much the same way as we needed condoms or candy or beer. Data. The sweet sweet chariot in which emails and photos and shitty mobile browser searches were delivered into our sweaty hands.
The model however was still broken. Despite the growing demands of life in which you were expected to respond to work emails in seconds and auntie Marbellas all over the country wanted instant pictures of the rug rats, carriers still charged a premium for mobile data and people once again (as I did with TracFone minutes ) watched cautiously over their mobile data allotment to avoid having data service temporarily shut down or face huge fees.
Fast forward again to 2013 and you’ll find this: Cell Internet Use
The use of mobile phones has changed drastically and yet data is still at a premium. There’s a huge problem with that. I had AT&T for slightly over a year. I was on wifi for about 80 percent of the time. I never once went over my piddling allotment of mobile data in nearly that entire time until one day when I received a bill for nearly 300 dollars. My data had unexpectedly blown off the charts and for reasons I could not explain I was now facing an exorbitant fee for using more than my tiny bucket of Internet that the almighty phone company had seen fit to give me. After contacting customer service I was given the excuse that perhaps a “weather widget” had gone crazy. Of course I called bullshit and my bill was corrected. Then it happened again after swapping phones. I fired AT&T who still insist to this day that I owe them 2 thousand dollars.
I then went with T-Mobile who offered unlimited data. While they still occasionally throttle I could care less. My main concern was that the overage charge like what I had previously seen never happened again.
Recently Verizon wireless unveiled a new plan. At $60 pm, it offers unlimited talk and text along with 2GB of data. The overage fee is $15 per 1 GB of data over your plan allowance. REALLY.
While at Disney my phone would occasionally drop from wifi. During my second day I received a message stating that I had used 1.6 GB of data. I’m not sure exactly how. It could have been the near constant use of the Walt Disney World app. It might have been my pictures trying to upload in the background. Who knows. The point is WHY should we feel the need to worry about it in 2014? I decided that I didn’t care. T-Mobile would simply throttle me and slow my mobile Internet speeds slightly which didn’t bother me at all. Had I been with AT&T or Verizon however I would have been flipping out. Unlike T-Mobile they would have charged me my first born child in data overage fees.
We live in a constantly connected environment here in the United States. It’s expected of us to check in, upload, record, email and check our bank balance on the go every day. Everywhere you look we’re being pushed into using more and more mobile data. Hell, even grocery stores have apps now to make shopping “easier”.
Mobile carriers need to adapt and stop being shifty and we should welcome a company that throttles rather than charging ridiculous overage fees. Yes we can watch our own data usage but the question is should we have to? The providers would have us believe that their networks are so clouded and crowded and shitty that they have to charge these fees. After all they are the victim of too many customers! Those poor corporations are just so flooded with us all using and paying through the nose for services that they just can’t be bothered to use some of that cash to improve towers.
How do you hose a consumer? Create a false sense of scarcity. Tell them that they just can’t keep up and have to charge more in order to make sure there’s enough for everyone.
The question is how many will buy into the bullshit and continue to support a broken model?