News broke yesterday that AT&T, the provider for the Apple iPhone and iPad, would be abandoning their unlimited data plan in favor of a “lower priced” usage plan. I have an iPhone and currently pay $30 a month for unlimited data usage over their 3G network. Say what you will about AT&T’s service, I have never had a problem with it and in the two years since I have gotten my iPhone I’ve never had a problem with my coverage. Of course I happen to live in Philadelphia, a major metropolitan area along the Eastern seaboard, so take that for what its worth.
Anyway when news broke of the scrapping of the old plan, I was initially quite angry. I mean, I use my phone quite a bit. I constantly check my e-mail, my Twitter feed, my blog roll, sports scores and news, amongst other things like finding movie times, or watching videos from GiantBomb. My phone is hardly ever not within arms reach of me so I would probably be within the extreme usage area right? Wrong, in fact I’m nowhere close.
To reach the threshold for the new high usage plan 2GB of data for $25 a month, I would have to increase my usage by 5X and stop using my Wifi Connection at home. So ultimately I am going to make out on the deal if I switch to the new plan but I’m not entirely sure I am happy about it. You know why? Because AT&T’s new plan is just the first step for all internet usage, not just mobile usage, to be paid for by the byte and that is something I am pretty sure won’t work out in my benefit. Its a slippery slope AT&T has put us on and I’m not sure it is a good thing.
But that is the catch, this could actually be a good thing. If providers actually can put out competitive deals a lot of people may make out on the deal because it will be paid for much like you pay for your electricity or other utilities. Those that use the most will pay the most, while those that use it minimally won’t have to pay the same price for service. Ultimately its fair and those that use their service to the extreme will have to pay out for it, not leach off of others.