February 23, 2017
There is a song from a famous 70’s pop singer named Donovan, which has a line in the chorus that goes like this: First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is…
Strangely, all the ruckus over unlimited data brings that to mind… first there is unlimited data then there is no unlimited data then there is [unlimited data]. Geeze. One would think that the unlimited data is unlimited data – not unlimited for a few gigs, then semi-limited for a few more gigs and all but dead for any gigs after that. And it doesn’t matter what data – TV, video, social media, audio…whatever.
This has been an ongoing issue for a long time and the four 800-pound gorillas have come up with every conceivable scheme to figure out how to limit data and still promoted it as “unlimited data.” It is getting old. Even the regulatory agencies are getting weary of it and telling these carriers to get their unlimited data act together.
It has been a while since I did a Dennis Miller-type rant. But I am over these carriers and their double-speak and how they come up with every ridiculous, often borderline illegal, lying scheme to get more money out of their customers. How often have they already been dinged for bogus charges and the like? And they must be a bit insane, because we all know the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over yet expect a different result.
And it shows no signs of slowing. Just a few days ago Sprint fired another salvo in this ravaged landscape of unlimited data. They just knocked another ten bucks a month from the rack price of its unlimited plan. But wait…that is only for customers who switch from other carriers. They are now offering a single line for $50 a month with a second line still offered for an additional $40 a month. Users can add up to two more lines for the same price, so new accounts with four lines can pay $22.50 for each line.
And to sweeten the deal, they also added HD video and 10 GB of mobile tethering per line, following T-Mobile’s move a few days earlier, which came on the heels of Verizon’s unlimited plan. Surprisingly, that is a notable reversal of the Verizon’s long-held policy of declining to offer unlimited service.
There are other minor details of each carrier’s plan but that is just minutia. Conditions on the mobile 10 Gig and video quality and such. Man, this has got to be a bloody battlefield.
Then comes the chest thumping. Sprints press release claims they are the only ones with the bandwidth and a capable network to offer unlimited whatever.
But there are bumps in the road. There is some concern by analysts that, all of this unlimited talk can’t be backed up by capacity. And unlimited isn’t really going to be unlimited, yet the apps just keep gobbling up bandwidth. And, there have been reports that HD video over carrier networks may not be as big a deal as was first thought, especially by millennials, who they were banking on using up this bandwidth.
It will be interesting to see where all this goes. The imminence of 5G and the IoX are a couple of variables that have yet to fully weigh in. And the rapid emergence of edge computing is yet one more vector. And while there is a lot of noise going on about “media-ers” (the consolidation of media players and carriers) the bottom line is still spectrum.
It will be an interesting rest of 2017.