Study: There Is No Difference in Usage Between Unlimited Data Plans and Tiered Data Plans

Illustration for article titled Study: There Is No Difference in Usage Between Unlimited Data Plans and Tiered Data Plans

Hey Carriers. We need to talk. You know how you said you were going to start throttling high data usage users in hopes to preserve bandwidth? That's bullshit, apparently. It's only because you want to get us onto tiered data plans so you can charge us overages. With hate, everyone.

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Seriously. Validas, an analytics firm, analyzed 50,000 cellphone bills from AT&T and Verizon to see if throttling was a necessary evil to conserve bandwidth. However, the numbers point to no. Instead, Validas guesstimates that it's because carriers would rather have us on tiered data plans for the overage fees. According to Validas:

"When we look at the top 5% of data users, there is virtually no difference in data consumption between those on unlimited and those on tiered plans — and yet the unlimited consumers are the ones at risk of getting their service turned off. So it's curious that anyone would think the throttling here represents a serious effort at alleviating network bandwidth issues. After all, Sprint does seemingly fine maintaining non-throttled unlimited data for its customers."

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The point being, throttling the Top 5% of unlimited data users seems to be unnecessary because the Top 5% are using the same amount of data on their tiered plans anyway. Go figure, carriers trying to squeeze a dime out of a nickel. [BGR]

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DISCUSSION

Aren't we excluding most of the picture when we only analyse the top 5% of data users from each set? My guess it that the picture changes if you include the entire gamut of data users from both sets (unlimited and tiered), meaning, the average unlimited data user uses more data than the average tiered user.

I wish we'd hurry up and start charging by amount in the same way we charge for water, electricity or any other utility. Charge per kilobyte, but have the price work out to something around $10 per gig and let the users of data pay for it. You want to save money on your bill this month? Throttle yourself from your usual 4g down to 1g and save $30. Have a base charge of $10 up to the first gig and go from there.