Caps on Mobile Data Plans: No More All-You-Can-Eat Buffets

  • As smartphones gain greater market penetration, and data-intensive applications become more popular, cellular carriers are creating limits on how much data customers can consume, and raising the price of that data.
  • T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon have all phased out their unlimited plans, and introduced tiered plans that charge customers based on how much data they consume. Only Sprint still offers an unlimited data plan.
  • Some developers worry that the caps will stifle innovation of data-intensive applications, and that customers may blame the applications if they go over their limits. This problem is compounded by the fact that consumers have no intuitive sense of how much data a given application may be using.
  • Industry analysts predict that the availability of data will become an increasingly important profit stream for cellular carriers, and a key point of competition between them.