You might love your iPhone, but your carrier sure doesn’t. iPhones are notorious for using up a lot of data, and this puts a great amount of strain on your carrier. As a result, numerous carriers have started to limit previously “unlimited” data plans. AT&T began limiting those customers who were in the top 5% last month. Now, the popular carrier has stated that any AT&T customer who uses more than 3G of data per billing cycle will also be throttled. If you happen to be one of those people, you will soon find out how serious AT&T is about this new throttling decision.
Consumers will be warned
So, how will you know if you’ve gone over (or are near) that 3G of data during any one cycle? AT&T will send you a polite message, of course. This message will state that you have gone over the 3G data allotment, and that your speed is about to be slowed down. Now, this may upset some AT&T customers who have previously paid for (and agreed to) an unlimited date plan, since shutting down speeds when users reach a certain amount of data is anything but unlimited.
In order to reassure customers, AT&T has put out a notice stating that 95% of customers will not notice a difference in speed and will not be impacted by this latest decision -- but, what about that 5%? Seemingly, those people who will be held back have a right to protest. After all, it’s nearly impossible to escape the bounds of a cell phone contract, but a carrier suddenly has the right to slow down data speeds when an unlimited agreement was, well, agreed upon? Something doesn’t seem right here. Then again, carriers might not have any other choice thanks to smartphones that are great at using up way too much data.
Carriers Just Can’t Keep Up
Now, I’m not saying that consumers should feel bad for carriers, but I am stating a true fact: carriers can’t keep up with today’s smartphones. The iPhone alone sucks up so much data that AT&T isn’t the only carrier worried about satisfying those “unlimited” contracts. Imagine what will happen in the future as Apple continues to put out larger and better smartphones? Carriers are going to have to find a way to keep up with changing technology, or smartphone data plans are going to get very expensive. It seems like everyone has a smartphone these days, but these phones may soon become an item for the rich or elite. After all, not too many consumers can pay more than they are currently paying for a smartphone carrier plan.
The truth of the matter is that carriers aren’t sure what to do. The only thing that seems logical is to start cutting down on those unlimited plans, but I’m betting that a few very angry consumers will soon bring some carriers to court. If a consumer can’t break out of a cell phone contract, something will have to be done about slowing down unlimited carrier plan speeds. Then again, all of these details were probably listed in that fine print (you know, the print that you never read when you sign that initial contract?). In any case, it will be interesting to see how carriers keep up with smartphones in the near future, and which carrier is next in line to start throttling.