The state of 4G LTE in Europe is pretty dismal compared to the United States, but that’s not really a bad thing since most 4G LTE equipped smartphones can’t seem to last more than a few hours under heavy use; the Droid RAZR MAxx is an exception. Anyway, today we’d like to highlight Vodafone’s new 4G LTE network in Portugal. The operator won a total of 123 MHz worth of spectrum in the country late last year, in multiple bands, but they’ve decided to launch using the same 2.6 GHz band that nearly everyone else in Europe is using. Pricing is easy enough for most folks to understand: There’s only one 4G LTE device, it’s a USB modem, and it’ll run you €160. As for plans, there are only two. You can choose to pay €50 per month and get unlimited data with your speeds capped at 50 megabits per second down and 25 megabits per second up or you can pay €60 per month and also get unlimited data, but with speed caps at 100 megabits per second down or 50 megabits per second up. In other words, instead of pricing being based on usage, the term “data bucket” comes to mind, Vodafone is instead charging based on speed.
Now where have we seen that before? Oh right, that’s how we’ve been paying for our home broadband connection for over a decade! Want more speed? Pay more money. Simple as that. We question why this pricing tactic hasn’t been deployed on the other side of the pond. Do most people really need the 50+ megabit per second pipe being delivered to their smartphone? Obviously not. If we had it our way then EDGE would be free, 1 megabit per second 3G would be $20 per month, and anything more than than is up to the operators to decide.
Crazy fantasy? You bet.