Poll: How Do You Feel About Tiered Pricing? Is it Fair?

Verizon announced today that it was going to adopt tiered pricing plans within the next four to six months. Earlier this year, AT&T did the same with its new DataPlus and DataPro plans, limit data usage to either 250MB or 2GB depending on the package. Finally, yesterday, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that while there were no immediately plans for metered pricing plans, the carrier wasn’t ruling out the possibility in the future. How do you feel about the coming changes?

There was quite an uproar when AT&T announced its plan to change its data package from unlimited data to two limited options. And even though the two choices — 2GB or 250MB — were perfect for the majority of users, the real power users were ticked off. Of course, this was the idea. AT&T didn’t want a small handful of abusive users straining its already crumbling network, especially in cities like New York City or San Francisco.

As smartphone sales continue to grow, along with new apps that are becoming more data intensive, carriers need to think about preserving their networks. Tiered or metered data and price packages seem to be the fair answer, and it’s certainly better than having data speeds throttled.

The idea of tiered and limited data plans isn’t new to Europeans or Canadians, but we spoiled smartphone users in the U.S. know nothing of the blasphemous practice. Limit our data usage? No way! Unfortunately, it’s quickly becoming our reality.

When 4G networks like WiMax and LTE become ubiquitous, our voracious appetites for data might cause those networks to buckle. With faster download and upload speeds, and less latency, gobbling up data will be a piece of cake. Carriers are acting now so that doesn’t happen.

Once your carrier starts switching to tiered plans, if it hasn’t already, how will you adjust your usage? Do you have to adjust your usage? When AT&T introduced its 2GB cap, I wasn’t affected because my contract included unlimited data usage, but I found that I wasn’t using more than 2GB of data per month anyway. Even if I had signed up after the plan went into effect, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. I’m on Wi-Fi most of the time.

So what do you think? Are tiered or metered pricing plans fair? Or are carriers just making excuses in order to squeeze every last penny it can out of its users? Let us know your thoughts! Vote and comment below.

  • Roger A

    The author of this post knows for a fact that I am one of the biggest data hogs out there. I am in the top 3% that actually use the network for the Unlimited data I get. I am borderline abusive sometimes. But what defines abuse? Is it tethering? Streaming YouTube? Using something like Sprint TV, VCast TV? Is it streaming Slacker or Pandora who compress music? Is it streaming music from TuneInRadio who doesnt compress? What exactly is “abuse” and what kinds of “abuse” make me a data hog really? I just use my phone for the features it comes with, streaming music provided to me BY Sprint or other authorized apps, watch a few videos now and then, and use it to upload my tweets and pics to Twitter or Facebook. Is that abuse? I dont think it is really, although I do it often, and use a lot of data doing it, but isnt that part of having an 8mp camera phone about?
    If carriers dont like people using data, maybe they shouldnt sell 20 different models of iPhones, BlackBerry, Android and Palm devices. In the beginning carriers touted their great voice networks, and the price of calls went up, and then dropped. Data on the other hand started out expensive, dropped in price, then went back up, and now some data plans cost more then voice and text, or even cable TV. And for what? For the carriers to bitch about it, and raise the price yet another $10 like Sprint is doing, or go tiered data routes with tiny MB buckets that almost make the legacy plans when data came out look like a buffet? I dont think so… Data already included in plans shouldnt be subject to limits, speed restrictions, or extra costs. If the carriers dont like smartphone users using their phone for what it is, then they need to stop selling and promoting so many of them. PERIOD!

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