Media Center

Media Center

Wireless Data Plans Are Not What They Appear to Be

When a wireless carrier eliminates an unlimited data usage plan, and replaces it with a monthly data cap that it says covers ‘almost all users’, what does it really mean?


If the price of the capped plan is lower than the previous unlimited plan, the move can look generous. But carriers know that wireless data usage is growing exponentially. Rolling out 4G networks and putting smartphones in the hands of more and more corporate users will cause the number of transported bits to soar. So will increasing use of iPads. Soon a monthly data cap of, say, 2GB won’t look so generous any more.

Caps on so-called “unlimited” plans are actually familiar to some corporate users who signed up for laptop aircard/datacard plans. They have already seen how the carriers set pricing to make overage charges inevitable. Experience has shown that the only way to control the carriers’ well-honed instinct to generate overage charges is to get onto a rigorous deal that, to cite one example, takes advantage of recent trends toward lower BlackBerry pricing. And benchmarking is the best way – the only reliable way, truth be told -- to learn about pricing trends.