Is it time for a new business model for 3G/4G data plan!

Mahbubul Alam 4G, CTO, Mahbubul Alam Leave a Comment

Streaming HD movies on your 4G LTE iPad with typical downlink speed of 10 Mbps could easily burn through your data plan in minutes, faster than you might think! Verizon’s online tool calculates that 1 hour of 4G HD video streaming use and nothing else will cost you 2GB; so, 2.5 hours of streaming HD video will use up 5GB of 4G LTE data. AT&T’s online calculator presents slightly different since they don’t breakout 4G LTE from 3G speed. Nevertheless the result is similar, in few minutes you will use up 2GB plan.

May be it is time for mobile operators to revisit their 3G/4G tier data plan. Consumers are addicted to mobile internet, online gaming, video streaming, skype, etc. however they want predictable billing.  My family had to adjust their expectation and stick to WiFi after getting hit with $100s for overage charge.

Here below are two models that would be better than today’s mobile data plan:

A. Just like the electricity/utility prices vary during peak and off hours, why can’t mobile data prices? This is where we are going the whole smart grid: Encourage usage during off-hours when it is cheaper or more convenient for the network. 

B. Alternatively, mobile data pricing should be based on time irrespective of data usage like WiFi hotspots billing model in hotels, airports, etc.    

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