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When, if ever, will Cellular data plans get awesome?

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When, if ever, will Cellular data plans get awesome?
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Road Warrior
2012-12-04, 14:43

Since I got the iPad Mini with LTE, I start to 'get' all of the gripes people have with cellular data costing a lot and giving relatively little. It wasn't a big issue on my iPhone 4S, because having only 3g and a small screen helps self regulate more, but to use an iPad without an internet connection just feels like you're only getting 70% or so of what the device is about. But it just seems like the powers at be are intent to charge as much as they can and offer as little as they can and to keep that arrangement for as long as they can. I understand that part of this must simply be technical, where hundreds of millions of devices have suddenly emerged to all want to use data all the time and simply building, maintaining and operating the infrastructure to support them all could not be an easy task, but for now, it's hard to feel how it's really getting any 'better' too, is the point.

With Home internet, I had 56k back in 1998 or so, we finally got 'broadband' in 2001 to the tune of ~3mbps cable, since then every year or two has seen an improvement in that speed to today where 50/10 cable is available for $70/mo, which to me, is completely 'acceptable', also, with fiber lines emerging, it seems like it won't be long before home broadband becomes tenfold faster and only marginally more expensive(if at all). With cellular data, it's harder to see that same sort of progression happening and if it is, it is happening more slowly with this air of 'it might never happen'.

So, will it happen? if so, what needs to happen first? has cellular data been improving in the past 6 years, if so at what rate? Is there anywhere internationally we can look to see where it might end up or other models that are more advanced than where we are today?(Such as how 1gbps internet is available in Japan and Korea and has been for a while, while it is only barely starting to show up in the states today)

In my perfect world(for now) 3g data would be completely free with a cap, a per-month fee would be required to either raise the cap or remove it entirely, 4g and LTE would cost by the month but feature a soft cap at least double what they are today with throttling enacted over the limit(or optional additional charge to raise the cap again). Something like that at least. I mean, really my perfect world would just be unlimited LTE data for $30/month or less (with phone rates being substantially cheaper, or at least more flexible, as well) But unlimited data seems like it's had its swan song.
Banging the Bottom End
Join Date: Jun 2004
2012-12-04, 15:23

Japan is smaller than California, so it costs much less in towers, power lines, etc. There is also a much higher population density so cost per user per tower should be less.

I'm with you though. Reading about UK people paying a few pounds/month for a 1GB data plan sounds like a good deal. Having cellular plans that decrease in cost once the phone subsidy is paid off is even better.
Veteran Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Unknown
2012-12-04, 18:04

My theory (which I developed too late in the game and which I would not have had any one to communicate it to) is that States should have built the tower infrastructure back when cell phones were first coming along. They could then lease space on these towers to the cell providers. It seems like you could even lease space to multiple carriers on one tower - but then I really don't know enough about cell towers to know if this is true. If so, it could have been a source of income for the states, and made it easier for cell companies to expand and compete in more areas.

Do you know where children get all of their energy? - They suck it right out of their parents!
El Gallo
Formerly “MumboJumbo”
Join Date: Dec 2009
2012-12-04, 18:08

People in the U.S. get screwed in part because they buy into the post-paid contract model. My phone is on Straight Talk where I purchased a one year service plan for $495. That comes out to just over $41 a month for unlimited talk, text and data.

I know the data truly isn't unlimited and some people have had issues with that but I'm an average user of no more than a 1 gig or so per month and to not have to sweat the details it is totally worth it for me.

I think cell companies are running out of levers to keep people on expensive post-paid plans.
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