Taking Advantage of Data-Addicted Smartphone Users

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-07-06 Print this article Print


5. Video is becoming more popular

With mobile-connectivity speeds increasing, more and more users are turning to their mobile devices to stream video content over the Web. But with tiered data plans, consumers need to be more careful about their activities. After all, video transfers push a lot of data through the pipe, and without one of Verizon's or AT&T's more expensive plans, customers might quickly find that video transfers are best done over WiFi, and not mobile networks. That's too bad.

6. Consumers will (rightfully) rebel

Verizon should be ready for the fallout of its decision. After AT&T announced its decision to bring tiered data pricing to its operation, some customers rebelled by jumping ship, publicly denouncing the move and more. And now, Verizon will likely face the same backlash. But that's understandable. Consumers have been enjoying unlimited data for years now, and all of a sudden the rug is being pulled out from under them. It's bad news for consumers.

7. The enterprise loses

It's important to keep in mind the impact tiered data pricing can have on the enterprise. Companies around the globe send employees out to work, and those folks are accessing data over mobile networks. With tiered data in place, small businesses, especially, that don't necessarily enter into long-term, enterprise-level contracts with carriers will lose out. Make no mistake, the corporate world is missing out on Verizon's move, as well.

8. It could kill innovation

Pricing and data transfers are typically cited as an issue with tiered data pricing, but those plans also stifle innovation. Now, developers will need to think about how much data their applications are using. If it's too much, they will need to either stop using data-intensive applications or scale back on their use in some way. With unlimited data, those constraints wouldn't be in place, and everyone would benefit because of it.

9. It could hurt smartphone sales

Even though Verizon made a bad move by eliminating unlimited data, smartphone shipments will only rise in the coming years. However, might those shipments be higher with unlimited data plans in place? It's certainly possible. After all, those who are using traditional mobile phones might look at the data plan pricing Verizon and AT&T offer and balk at buying a smartphone. With the economy the way it is, the lack of affordable unlimited data might force some customers to opt for flip-phones, rather than smartphones.

10. It's not a long-term solution

Whenever carriers talk about tiered data, they say that it's the best way to manage exorbitant data use by some customers and that most people will be unaffected by the change. Though that might be a fine short-term solution, the fact is data usage will continue to soar in the coming years. And carriers will need to find a long-term solution to address that. Ratcheting back on data use isn't a solution, it's a stopgap. The only good way to address data usage and in the process benefit all stakeholders is to invest as heavily as possible in infrastructure improvement and maintain unlimited data plans.

-Click here to follow Don Reisinger on Twitter 


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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