AT&T; GoPhone offers unlimited data for users who have feature phones. Most feature phones offer a handful of proprietary apps, but are able to install Java based applications such as Google Maps, and a handful of other apps that are still written for phones based on Java. These phones do not need to be on an unlimited data plan, unless the user is using the GPS features of the phone, or subscribe to a radio or television service, most likely offered through the provider. The cost of the unlimited data/text/talk plan is $50 a month.
But smartphone users end up paying $65 a month for the same plan, except users only get 1 GB of data. After which they are charged at the tune of 5 cents per megabyte. Users on AT&T;’s $50 plan, the plan I’m on with my feature phone, cannot, can only get online when they purchase buckets of data at the tune of $25 per GB. Interestingly enough, AT&T; is okay with charging smartphone users $75, for 1 GB of data and unlimited talk/text, with the option of getting an additional 1 GB for another $25.
It simply does not make any sense. Data is 1 cent per kilobyte, but only if you’re on a feature phone. But I’ve waxed poetic about AT&T;’s convoluted plans before; the bottom line is that your phone company would prefer that you only use 1 GB of data per month. But how much can you actually do with 1 GB of data?
10 hours of streaming video anyone? Plus cellular carriers want to defer to unlimited data connections available to smartphones through Wi-Fi but who wants to seek out a Wi-Fi connection for a phone? Think about it for a second; your carrier is supposed to provide services for your phone, they’re supposed to provide the connection, but when it comes down to Internet usage, they don’t want to sell you unlimited broadband, they want you to go through a wireless router.
They say that smartphones will outsell feature phones this year. Is this because everyone simply assumes that they are going to hang out at Panera Bread, McDonald’s, the public library and Barnes and Noble all day long? Wait, that is already happening, and that is the reason there isn’t enough bandwidth for me to get on the Internet on an actual computer, while at these places.
Cell phone carriers will inevitably need to upgrade their networks. Most are offering unlimited data through 4G, but they also know that 4G saturation is pretty low. The vast majority of phones are still connecting through 3G technology.