Gather Roses And Unlimited Data Plans While They last.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day.
Tomorrow will be dying.
And so, thanks to AT&T, will be the unlimited data plan.
With many metropolitan area networks clogged up by data traffic, the operators are reacting in the only way they know how.
No, that’s not by increasing capacity.
It’s by putting up the cost of using existing capacity.
It’s like your landlord saying to you: ‘You’re drinking so much beer I’m putting the price up.’ Instead of ordering extra barrels.
Next week AT&T leads the way in the US by dumping unlimited data plans in favour of charging users by the Megabyte for data traffic. Verizon and Vodafone are making similar noises.
No doubt synchronised with the launch of the new iPhone, expected on Monday June 7th, AT&T’s all-you-can-download -for-$30 plan will be dumped for new iPhone users, to be replaced by a usage charge.
At the same time, AT&T’s $30 iPad unlimited data offering will be replaced by a $25 service capped at 2Gbyte after which extra usage charges apply.
Some while back AT&T actually stopped selling iPhones to try and keep the data traffic from clogging its networks and, according to Steve Jobs: “They’re handling way more data traffic than all of their other competitors combined.”
Isn’t it good to have customers demanding more and more of your services?
So isn’t there an obvious answer to increased demand?
LTE is here. It can be deployed.
But what’s happening? The spending on new capacity is declining.
Wireless capex declined last year. It declined the year before last. And it will decline again this year, according to US analysts iSuppli.
This year the wireless network operators’ capex spend will be $120.6 billion; last year it was $122.8 billion; in 2008, it was $134.3 billion.
What a shower.