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Verizon Hints At Scrapping Unlimited Data Plans

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the where-are-the-antitrust-watchdogs dept.

Communications 319

BusinessWeek reports that Verizon may be preparing to follow AT&T's example by eliminating unlimited data plans later this year. Quoting: "'We will probably need to change the design of our pricing where it will not be totally unlimited, flat rate,' John Killian, chief financial officer of Verizon Communications Inc., the wireless unit’s parent, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York today. The company anticipates 'explosions in data traffic' over wireless networks as new phones on 4G networks incorporate data-heavy applications, such as video downloads, he said. Verizon is working to keep its network running smoothly as more of its customers switch to smartphones that connect to the Internet. ... 'The more bandwidth that you make available, the faster it will be consumed,' said Craig Moffett, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. 'From Verizon’s perspective, the last thing you want is for another generation of consumers to be conditioned to the idea that data is always going to be uncapped.'"

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319 comments

Why not raise the price instead? (4, Insightful)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624886)

Why eliminate them completely, why simply not raise the price until it's profitable if some consumer want them?

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625030)

Why eliminate them completely, why simply not raise the price until it's profitable if some consumer want them?

That's what they're doing. It's called "charging by the minute" (or megabyte).

The simple truth is that if you sell an unlimited connection, some users will cost you far more than other users. Further, if you kicked all those users off your service tomorrow, you wouldn't lose that much money. And if you charged people the actual cost of unlimited service and then spent it on providing it, which includes actually building out new capacity, then you wouldn't be able to give your execs gigantic bonuses they don't deserve.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625164)

some users will cost you far more than other users. Further, if you kicked all those users off your service tomorrow, you wouldn't lose that much money

You might be making more money - with less investment in infrastructure.

if you charged people the actual cost of unlimited service and then spent it on providing it, which includes actually building out new capacity, then you wouldn't be able to give your execs gigantic bonuses they don't deserve.

This assumes there are enough customers willing to bear the real cost of providing "unlimited service" to make the investment worthwhile.

Insensitive clods. (2, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625706)

'From Verizon's perspective, the last thing you want is for another generation of consumers to be conditioned to the idea that data is always going to be uncapped.'"

I don't know what generation they're talking about, since 300 baud was considered a fairly good linespeed when I was in my 20s, and the amount of data you could transmit was limited by the size of the trolley we used to carry all those mag tapes around.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (1, Insightful)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625226)

Who are you to decide what someone else deserves? Unless you are a voting shareholder you have no valid opinion on the matter.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625368)

Yes because nobody is allowed to have a valid opinion otherwise.

You might might not value someone else's opinion unless it fits your arbitrary little criteria of
who matters but others might. Thats like saying someone cant have an opinion on the war in Iraq
unless they are taking part in the fighting. Most executive bonuses are stupidly excessive and
definitely not deserved.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625410)

Who are you to decide what someone else deserves? Unless you are a voting shareholder you have no valid opinion on the matter.

I'm entitled to my opinion, and so are you.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (2, Informative)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625450)

How about if I'm a "voting customer", who will happily take my money elsewhere if someone tries to screw me?

And if there are so few choices and they all (in reality or in fact) collude, by making changes in lockstep, that's exactly what regulation is for. So no, it is not only shareholders who have a vote-ultimately, the public can veto anything the shareholders decide, through exactly that mechanism, and that's much more likely to happen if the company makes people unhappy on a regular basis and does not respond to negative feedback by scrapping or changing what it planned to do. The ability of those shareholders to be shareholders with highly limited liability is the result of a corporate charter granted by the government, and thus also the people. If the company starts to abuse that charter by utilizing a large market share to charge more and offer less, the people have every right to modify, limit, or revoke that license to operate with limited liability, and to define boundaries outside of which the company may not step.

It absolutely sickens me to see "No, just shareholders! Shareholders! Screw the customers, the employees, and the public!" Giving customers something they'll want to keep even when their contract is up, keeping employees happy so they will stay long-term, and maintaining a good reputation with the public are all part of the long-term viability of a company. You're ultimately hurting even the shareholders when you piss them all off for a short-term quarterly boost.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (4, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625238)

That's what they're doing. It's called "charging by the minute" (or megabyte).

It's spelled "charging by the minute" but it's pronounced "collusion".

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625396)

I don't think it's time to go to per-minute charging yet, but it does seem logical to have plans similar to my phone company:

- 1000 minutes per month for $15
- 10 cents for each additional minute

The ISP could charge a flat rate for everyone, and the power users who go over 250 GB can be charged 10c for each additional gigabyte.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (4, Insightful)

ChairmanMeow (787164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625510)

The ISP could charge a flat rate for everyone, and the power users who go over 250 GB can be charged 10c for each additional gigabyte.

Are you kidding? This is Verizon we're talking about. I'm currently have a phone with them (a cheap phone) and was recently looking into their data plans. Their non-"unlimited" plan is $10/month, and beyond a limit of 25 MB (not GB, MB) the price is $1/MB (again, not GB, MB). Somehow I think any new non-unlimited plan of theirs would be a lot more expensive than what you're thinking of.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (-1, Troll)

dintech (998802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625032)

Pressure from Apple. Jobs isn't a fan of the term 'unlimited'. That's why the providers in the UK have changed their policy at least.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625072)

Pressure from Apple. Jobs isn't a fan of the term 'unlimited'. That's why the providers in the UK have changed their policy at least.

That is interesting. Do you have a citation on that? (Not saying you are making it up, but I am more likely to believe a credible source making that claim more than random slashdot person).

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625132)

I'd like to see a citation as well. Considering the way that the iPhone and iPad function, I can't imagine him being opposed to anything other than the term. As those products use an excessive amount of bandwidth. If you're going to use those devices as intended, you're going to burn through a huge amount of bandwidth, that's just the reality of it.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625036)

Because someone... somewhere... will actually USE the unlimited that they paid for...

And that would be bad for verizon.

And to put an actual real price on 'unlimited'. Would scare alot of people away.

Which would also be bad for verizon.

The big question is.... why do these stupid ass companys keep offering unlimited anything as just a tease to get you signed up?

It's always going to eventually screw over the customer in some way. Which creates some serious ill will.

Which is also bad for verizion.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625182)

Why cater to the customers needs in the first place? Just screw them as much as you can.

Re:Why not raise the price instead? (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625252)

Why cater to the customers needs in the first place? Just screw them as much as you can.

If you're a hooker those two are one and the same. I'm just sayin'

Unlimited already means 5G (5, Insightful)

wesw02 (846056) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624888)

Verizon's current unlimited plans aren't actually unlimited, they translate to 5G per month, if you exceed it you'll be fined. IMHO that's already a class action waiting to happen. This just sucks though, cell phone carriers charge more for internet and you are getting less of it.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624908)

They should really stop advertising "unlimited" in America. If there was an ounce of consumer protection in the government, they should hammer such terms as what it is, fraud.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624976)

Added to which 'unlimited' isn't _ever_ unlimited; it's always limited by device capability and carrier capacity anyway. There are limits to access embodied in the device you buy and the locations you connect from, and they cannot sell everyone unlimited access.

The illusion is that 'unlimited' was ever possible; ISPs in the UK have been discouraged from using the term.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625142)

I think most people assume that unlimited means that it's as much as the device can use. I don't think anybody seriously believes that they're entitled to more than the full capacity of bandwidth use constantly over the month. That would be stupid. But, any constraints that the carrier places beyond what the device can handle is fraudulent in my view. If they want to call it unlimited, then they damn well better not be putting in any limits that the device itself doesn't require.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625408)

Except the contract says they can change the terms any time they desire (for example, from unlimited to 5 GB). When that happens you have the right to escape the contract, so there's no basis for a lawsuit.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (3, Insightful)

internic (453511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625424)

I'm guessing part of the problem is that even if one carrier/ISP wanted to be honest and explain the limitations that they would really impose, their competitors won't do it, and as long as the average consumer is unwary they will opt in favor of the better sounding deal. I assume the reason this may be changing with mobile phone carriers is that enough users are starting to bump up against the hidden or unstated limits that the lie of "unlimited" service is no longer tenable.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (1)

ukyoCE (106879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625568)

Agreed. I totally understand the necessity of charging for bandwidth, but they need to be honest about it. This is one of those unfortunate cases where no company wants to be the first to stop advertising "unlimited" and risk getting beat up for it by their (still-lying) competitors.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625080)

You are talking about data cards meant to be hooked up to a computer, which are capped at 5G. Smartphones on Verizon are currently unlimited, hence this article.

Pay attention or FUD less.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625114)

At least you get 5GB. Here in Europe I've recently seen some ads for "unlimited" data plans on TV, while careful investigation revealed that after 300MB you get throttled to 2KB/s.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (4, Informative)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625216)

It isn't a 5GB cap. You're free to transfer as much as you please.

Anything over 5GB gets rate limited to 56k speeds, though.

They're giving you unlimited data, and past 5GB, you still have unlimited data. It just isn't fast, and nothing in their terms of use prohibits this. You can't really drop a class-action lawsuit against them doing that either.

You're not fined for going over 5GB, just throttled.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (4, Interesting)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625326)

Sorry to reply to myself, but I thought I linked this.

http://www.intomobile.com/2007/11/03/verizon-wireless-when-we-say-unlimited-data-we-mean-5gb-worth-of-unlimited-data.html [intomobile.com]

While that article is just as good at trolling a subject line as the OP is, the part we care about is this:

And, should you exceed the 5GB/month limit on your “unlimited” plan, Verizon will “reduce throughput speeds of any application that would otherwise exceed such speed to a maximum of approximately 200Kbps” – with actual speeds “subject to change.

It remains functionally unlimited, and the same type of cap pre-5GB applies: connection speed. Just a different speed.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (1)

hduff (570443) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625362)

I used to be on a truly unlimited 3G plan.

Without warning me, they changed me to a 5GB-and-pay-over-that plan at $1 per MB. After complaining, they refunded the charges and dropped it to $0.25 per MB and at least keep me kinda updated as to current usage (never used to know until after the month was over).

I still hate them.

Re:Unlimited already means 5G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625674)

I haven't been fined the several times I've far exceeded 5gb. I've even exceeded 10gb (android app went nuts downloading, a big chunk of that 10gb was within 24 hours).

Smartphone plans are truly unlimited. Laptop and similar plans are not. Smartphone plans are advertised unlimited and it is delivered. Laptop and similar plans are advertised with 5gb caps. It's all on the website.

No surprise (4, Insightful)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624894)

This isn't really surprising.

Verizon has always seen their customers purely as a source of profit, and has done everything they can to maximize the fees they can charge customers - going as far as disabling bluetooth file exchange on their phones so customers have to send things like pictures via the Verizon network so they incur data charges.

Eliminating unlimited data plans is a logical step in maximizing profits.

Re:No surprise (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624924)

What they need to do is uncouple phone from the network -- to the point that the subsidized phone contract is seperate from the phone plan (allowing a customer to switch from month to month) and to stop distinguishing between different types of data -- like texts vs emails and the like. It's all just data. Perhaps even make voice and data seperate, allowing you to purchase seperate plans from different companies for either.

Of course, the push has to come from the people and legislated. The phone companies are never going to give up the status quo.

SMS != data (4, Informative)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624992)

What they need to do is uncouple phone from the network -- to the point that the subsidized phone contract is seperate from the phone plan (allowing a customer to switch from month to month) and to stop distinguishing between different types of data -- like texts vs emails and the like. It's all just data.

Verizon's network has been CDMA, which I'm not terribly familiar with (I closed my Verizon account back in 2002 and haven't looked back), but at least for GSM, text and data are not the same thing. I don't know how it works in CDMA, so it could be different for Verizon, but over GSM, SMS messages are squeezed into unused space in control packets that the phones and towers exchange normally even if there's no call happening. So on GSM networks, SMS isn't data and incurs no cost at all to the operator. SMS should be completely free on GSM providers.

Data, on the other hand, takes up packets/bandwidth that would otherwise be available for voice service, so there is a cost.

Re:SMS != data (1)

TyFoN (12980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625542)

SMS was a free "extra service" for some time here in Norway (around 1994).

Re:SMS != data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625582)

Data, on the other hand, takes up packets/bandwidth that would otherwise be available for voice service, so there is a cost.

That's changing in LTE - it's all just data (AIPN) [wikimedia.org] .
Though I'm sure they'll find a way to charge big bucks for TXT messages.

Re:SMS != data (3, Interesting)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625596)

SMS messages are squeezed into unused space in control packets that the phones and towers exchange normally even if there's no call happening. So on GSM networks, SMS isn't data and incurs no cost at all to the operator. SMS should be completely free on GSM providers.

I agree that there is little if not zero "tower-to-handset" bandwidth cost for SMS messaging.

However, SMS (and MMS) messaging does depend on all that infrastructure that's in place, and by providing SMS services, the telcos are required to reliably route and deliver the messages around the world. That message handling and routing certainly has a cost, and therefore I believe that providers have a right to fairly pass on a portion of the cost of their infrastructure investments (plus a fair profit) to the users of SMS services.

HOWEVER, I am no apologist here. At least in the USA, providers charge very high fees for text messages. If I send a 15 character text message to my wife, we get charged $0.40. A few pennies may be fair, but far more than $0.39 of that $0.40 is profit. Furthermore, SMS is configured to be parasitic - my friends (and spammers) like to send me text messages without my authorization. That costs me $0.20 every time, and there is no way for me to stop them without giving up my wireless service altogether.

What is even more disturbing is that all the telcos in the US have generally increased their SMS rates to a new high. They now charge the same outrageous fee ($0.20 in, $0.20 out), leading me to believe that instead of competing, they are colluding.

In short, telcos have decided (individually or together) not to compete in this area, to the detriment of all telco customers. Laws should be considered to encourage fair and healthy competition in this space, which will encourage healthy SMS industry growth and efficiencies.

Re:SMS != data (2, Insightful)

shawb (16347) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625728)

SMS... incurs no cost at all to the operator

Not exactly true. Transmission to the tower is essentially free, but transmission of the data in the SMS packet across the network, and subsequent routing to the destination phone does cost the carriers money. Additionally, having SMS in the protocol means that bandwith is no longer free to add increased functionality or allow compression that would allow a tower to strip the dead space and allow communication with more phones.

But, yes, SMS is not carried over the 3G channel and so should not be incorporated into that billing. And while the per message cost of supporting SMS isn't that much... the actual total cost to a telecom is significant; I would almost suspect something on the order of millions of dollars annually. Although I will gladly acquiesce that claim if someone shows me actual internal figures.

Re:No surprise (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625048)

"Verizon has always seen their customers purely as a source of profit"

SHOCKING INSIGHT. You do realize that Verizon is a business, right?

Go eat a bag of dicks, op.

Re:No surprise (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625178)

"Eliminating unlimited data plans is a logical step in maximizing profits."

That's funny, because for me it's the next step in reducing my expenses. I am not one of those people who downloads gigs worth of stuff per month on my phone. In fact, my lifetime download on my iPhone is right around 950MB. That's for 2 1/2 years worth of using it to check email constantly, surf the web whenever I want and do some occasional Youtube viewing. With AT&T's new plan I can cut my data plan cost in half.

Re:No surprise (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625224)

Verizon has always seen their customers purely as a source of profit,

That is the case for most companies, but telecommunication providers just happen to be some of the worst, ever since the breakup.

Re:No surprise (1)

Overunderrated (1518503) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625684)

This isn't really surprising.

Verizon has always seen their customers purely as a source of profit,

I hate to break it to you, but that's what customers are for.

Jjust admit you found another way to fuck us. (3, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624910)

Just admit you found another way to squeeze money out of your user base. Thats all this is really.

Its like text messaging. Everyone wants it, so lets charge everyone ridiculous rates to send text.

Now that everyone wants smart phones, lets charge everyone for data because we can.... and theres nothing you can do about it.

Re:Jjust admit you found another way to fuck us. (2, Insightful)

massysett (910130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625264)

Its like text messaging. Everyone wants it, so lets charge everyone ridiculous rates to send text.

Now that everyone wants smart phones, lets charge everyone for data because we can.... and theres nothing you can do about it.

Boost Mobile. $50, text all you want, unlimited web.

Cricket. $40, text all you want, unlimited web.

So there is something you can do about it, but you'd rather sit around and whine. Or maybe you want the top notch devices and top notch network but you don't want to pay for it. Okay.

Re:Jjust admit you found another way to fuck us. (1)

unr3a1 (1264666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625500)

I never understood why people are WILLING to pay exorbitant amounts of money on stuff because they believe it is "premium".

massysett, it's this ideal called "fair price". If Honda turned around and decided that they wanted to charge $100,000 for a Honda Civic, that is not a fair price. The same way that I pay $30 a month for "unlimited data". Now I don't use anywhere NEAR 5 gigabytes per month of data usage.

You honestly think it would be fair for Verizon to change their data plans so that me, who maybe only uses .5-1GB per month to get charged per MB so I have to now pay $50 for that usage?

There is a point where charging more for a service does not originate with the intent to "cover costs" but for pure greed. They don't have to change it to a tiered service. Verizon makes a ridiculous amount of money already. This move is rooted in pure greed. And the fact that people like you get fooled into believing that they are somehow entitled to satisfy that greed is really really sad.

Re:Jjust admit you found another way to fuck us. (3, Insightful)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625652)

I never understood why people are WILLING to pay exorbitant amounts of money on stuff because they believe it is "premium".

Bad example, here--AT&T, Sprint, or VZW actually are "premium" services compared to Boost or Cricket. Just look at the coverage maps.

Consumers are getting mixed messages (2, Interesting)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624914)

All the content providers are pushing for mobile TV, streaming music, video chat, stream movies and the cellular data providers are trying to condition consumers to the fact that data is limited and you must pay for it! What really gets me is that the data providers are also pushing content and at the same time are worried about usage. Something doesn't seem right here!

It's obvious... (1)

SIGBUS (8236) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625012)

Step 1: Bamboozle Joe and Jane Consumer with nifty "the future is now" capabilities on shiny new gadgets.
Step 2: Make them pay through the nose if they actually use them.
Step 3: Profit! (for a while)
Step 4: Go bankrupt when the Joes' and Janes' contracts are up, they don't renew them, and they switch back to cheap, basic phones.

conscious parallelism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32624916)

Just remember... conscious parallelism is legal under the antitrust laws!!!

The Internet cartel is rising. It will only get more powerful. Right now they are winning every major regulatory battle. The Internet will look very different in ten years.

Re:conscious parallelism... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625170)

You're correct, although that doesn't mean that there won't be an investigation. If it turns out that there's any contact between the companies on the issue then that's a completely different matter. This is also coincidentally why service tends to suck so bad in the US. None of the providers have any incentive to compete over things like pricing of text messages. They all know that a price war would screw them all over.

Not so backwards after all (3, Funny)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624944)

Here I thought New Zealand was 10 years behind because we don't have unlimited data. Turns out we were 10 years ahead.

M&%@#%$?&*@!!!!! (0, Offtopic)

PeopleMakeMeLOL (1717442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624946)

Guess that means no more unlimited animal p0rn while I'm driving. DAMMIT!

Pimp tactics (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624952)

They get us bitches hooked on drugs (data) then cut off the supply and make us do things we don't like, ie. giving them more money.

Re:Pimp tactics (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625116)

So to pay for data we will have to start giving blowjobs to random strangers on the street, just like iphone users?

Missed Marketing Opportunity (1)

countach44 (790998) | more than 4 years ago | (#32624972)

I think that if they did this, Verizon would lose out on a great marketing opportunity. By keeping an unlimited data plan, they can taunt AT&T for scrapping theirs. Verizon was somewhat late to the game since they didn't have an iPhone competitor for a while, so why not use this to gain an edge?

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625016)

Hey Verizon.

I'm having a hard time paying my bill for my contract, so I'm going to have to pay less to accomediate my lack of money. Hope you don't mind.

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625018)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

The Lowest Common Denominator (4, Insightful)

Enrique1218 (603187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625024)

The only competition these guys do is seeing who can give their customers less. Forcing data plan, hiking early termination fees above the value of the phone, charging for text messaging, ring tones, and now limiting data plans. There is little difference between any of the wireless service providers in terms of what they provide. The cell phone lock in and multiyear contracts allow this to happen and stifle innovation. By getting a $600 smartphone for $200 with a multiyear contract, we lock ourselves to vendor and can't leave them when they cut service. Instead of developing the technology to meet the customer demand, they would rather trained their customers not to expect too much

Re:The Lowest Common Denominator (3, Informative)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625330)

By getting a $600 smartphone for $200 with a multiyear contract, we lock ourselves to vendor and can't leave them when they cut service

I have found this is incorrect. If your provider changes the terms of your service agreement, you have the option of discontinuing service instead. To change the terms, they are basically terminating your current agreement and starting a new one. If you chose to leave, you should not have to pay an early termination charge because the provider chose to terminate the agreement.

Re:The Lowest Common Denominator (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625658)

This is how telephony providers have operated since day one. From a technology perspective the advances they've made are quite stunning, but they don't benefit you as an end user at all, every single advance is aimed at providing more profit for the telco while giving you less bandwidth.

Your average phone call now is digitized within a few hundred meters of your front door, multiplexed and shoved down digital circuit multiplication equipment (DCME) where they make use of the space while you are listening to stick yet more phone calls on the wire. It's a net win for the telco, free money in a lot of ways. About as offensive as actually charging money to send SMS over a signaling system that is already active (and mostly idling) 24/7 anyway.

Providing more bandwidth to the end user, for nearer to what it actually costs, goes against every single principle they've built their companies upon for the last several decades. They wont go down that path without a lot of kicking and screaming.

Yet another excuse to charge more money (2, Insightful)

Xpendable (1605485) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625046)

This is BS. This is nothing more than an excuse for Verizon to squeeze more money out of customers. I am getting frakked in the the a$$ by Com-Xfinitysucks-castic by ridiculuous price increases and equipment fees. I pay over $100 a month for 1.5 mb download and digital basic tv, and that's WITHOUT HD. If I want HD, I have to pay an additional $40 per month plus an upcharge on an HD box. Now Comcast just forced me to get these stupid DTA boxes which eliminate the ability to get any free HD channels and effectively eliminates the QAM channels I used to be able to pick up on my LCD HDTV. WIthout the DTA I can only watch 15 channels. And of course they only give you 2 "free" DTA's... if you have more TV's, you have to rent them for $2 a month. Nothing but a SCAM. I am cancelling Comcast. And when Verizon ends the unliminted data plan, I am cancelling Verizon. Seriously... I might as well forego internet all together. Frak these companies who make it so expensive to enjoy technology with their 400% upcharges on services.

Re:Yet another excuse to charge more money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625196)

I smell BS. I pay Comcast around $100 a month and have everything but movie channels, HD, DVR, and 12Mbps internet. I have no love for Comcast, their throttling practices and marketing BS annoy me, but it's a local monopoly. It's my ONLY option for TV(apartment complex and apartment isn't facing south) and the DSL service here is only 1.5 Mbps. So, while I hate being stuck with Comcast for now, and think they overcharge, it's not as bad as you're trying to make out.

Re:Yet another excuse to charge more money (2, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625202)

Ouch, that must hurt. I'm paying roughly half that for a 6mbps connection. I've personally had a lot of good luck with DirecTV and Qwest. Earthlink wasn't too bad for DSL, but whatever route you take, you're pretty much guaranteed to give money to either the cable company or the telephone company for internet. There's just no meaningful competition.

Around here, you drive around and you see a huge number of satellite dishes popping up. I guess it turns out that people were sick of paying for channels that didn't come in properly on Comcrap. It might be a bit better if you're getting cable through a bulk package as a part of a condo association or similar, but the cable company just doesn't care enough to provide the service that it promises.

Same really goes for cell service. Since for the most part they all suck, there's basically no motivation by any of them to actually improve.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625050)

I'd love a per-MB rate. Then I wouldn't have to pay $30/month for the privilege of owning a smartphone.

MBA solutions to technical problem (1)

pesho (843750) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625076)

'The more bandwidth that you make available, the faster it will be consumed,' said Craig Moffett, analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York.

Is this dude proposing that limiting the bandwith to will make it last longer?

Re:MBA solutions to technical problem (2, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625212)

Yes, and he's correct. Bandwidth lasts infinitely if nobody uses it. I say bravo on the courage to piss off your customers and chase them to the competitors. It takes real guts to preserve bandwidth in such a courageous way.

I'm so fucking tired of capitalism. (-1, Flamebait)

log0n (18224) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625082)

Rape of one's finances.

Re:I'm so fucking tired of capitalism. (2, Insightful)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625104)

I had relatives on the "wrong" side of the wall. Things there didn't work out too well either.

Re:I'm so fucking tired of capitalism. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625222)

Actually Communism was really just a perverse form of capitalism. It's more or less exactly what Adam Smith warned about. Rather than one company owning everything, one entity did. The entity was generally the Communist party, and the results were indistinguishable from what the fascists in America are pushing for. Either the government controls the entire economy or a single corporate entity controls the government. Without appropriate regulation those are pretty much the only options which don't involve the entire country exploding.

Re:I'm so fucking tired of capitalism. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625124)

Does Socialism have unlimited 4G?

Re:I'm so fucking tired of capitalism. (2, Funny)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625524)

Sure in your Zil limousine's, but the FSB and NSA will record every call and data packet.

Re:I'm so fucking tired of capitalism. (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625428)

Actually, the reason why wireless providers are able to get away with it is because the useful wireless spectrum is limited and thus governments require exorbitant fees to license it. Wireless is not an example of a free market but state-sponsored oligopoly.

Then again, concepts like "free market" and "socialism" are nothing but vague, idealistic theories that sound great on paper but never survive contact with the real world—especialy the human capacity for corruption.

Re:I'm so fucking tired of capitalism. (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625654)

If you don't like it, quit being the victim. Capitalizm works both ways, you know.

Thanks for doing our market research, bitches ! (1)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625094)

The whole idea of "unlimited" was to see how folks in the real world would use the system. Now that there are a few years of data collected, they will cut the pie into the most profitable tranches, and charge accordingly. Think airline tickets, where the business traveler paid 4x what you paid because you booked last year. Do you think AT & T and Verizon ever play a round of golf together to discuss these things...naah.

Two comments (4, Interesting)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625102)

First: Contrast the behavior of big companies like Verizon who consistenly reduce their level of service with that of companies like Linode, who consistently increase the level of service offered to their customers for no additional charge: http://blog.linode.com/2010/06/16/linode-turns-7-big-ram-increase [linode.com] . THAT is how you ensure customer loyalty. Sometimes squeezing every last penny out of customers isn't the best way to do business.

Second: When I purchased my smartphone, I didn't like being forced to purchase the "unlimited" plan for $30/month. Since the phone has WiFi and I'm usually near a WiFi access point, I was willing to rely on that to save some money. Instead I had to drop a second phone from the plan so my monthly bill didn't increase too much. If their new data plans include limitied but reasonable data allowances for a lower cost, I'm actually ok with that. The real problem is that it seems many (most?) current smartphones don't easily allow 3G to be disabled until needed. Or deprioritized with respect to WiFi - eg. Use WiFi preferentially when in range, only fall back to 3G if necessary and only for the apps configured to do so. (Note I say *easily* - I know data can be turned off but it's a PITA. The normal state is "data always on".) Given that these devices are constantly accessing the network, if simply having the phone on with data enabled puts people in danger of incurring overage charges when using the standard plans, they (Verizon) did it wrong. The new plans should take "normal" use into account, be less expensive than current plans, and provide reasonable options for heavy data users. Then this move might actually be a good one, benefiting everyone.

Honest question (2, Insightful)

Nikker (749551) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625112)

I have never been involved in ISP grade networks and I pose a question to those more knowlegeable in the field. Have we hit the proverbial wall in terms of bandwidth? Is it possible (once last mile is satisifed) to have a somewhat reliable 1000mb low latency connection into every home or is this something that is limited not by finance but by some other principal? Lastly can any one provide an approximation where large ISP's are today in terms of backbone connections and maybe some hints of the major bottlenecks (aside from last mile) that is being encountered?

Re:Honest question (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625376)

This doesn't really answer your questions, but ISP's can't provide reliable & fast service at today's prices because it eliminates their opportunities to charge customers more and more every time they provide an incremental increase in speed. They need to be able to raise your rates for improving your speed by a few Mbs here or there. If they don't they'll never be able to charge $250 a month for 100Mbs service.

I have Optimum Online 'Boost' service which costs me $60 per month. It's pretty fast: 17Mbs/5Mbs [speedtest.net] to the closest server and 13Mbs/3Mbs [speedtest.net] to a server across the country. I could get the 'Ultra' service but it wouldn't really make much of a difference for my needs. I have three clients who use the 'Ultra' service and they get great service.

Re:Honest question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625412)

hey, i have to post anonymously, since i was moderating this discussion. however, i have worked at major ISPs.

anyway, there is no fundamental limit to the capacity that ISPs have for their own networks. or, if there is a limit, we're not even close yet. any one of them can expand their infrastructure, and quite easily, at that. however, it costs a lot of money to do it.

every single one of the big american ISPs, however, doesn't want to actually behave in a capitalist manner: they don't want to really rechannel profits into their systems' infrastructure. they want to take all of the profits, and make themselves wealthy. therefore, the capital of their business never really gets upgraded in the way it should. and everyone suffers.

to sum it up: this is something that is absolutely limited by finance alone. anyone who tells you otherwise is bullshitting either you, or themselves.

as for bottlenecks? packet filtering and inspection, as well as being forced to comply with too many idiotic US government laws. it takes a toll on network performance.

Re:Honest question (4, Interesting)

Comen (321331) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625750)

I work for a big ISP, and bandwidth is not a issue on the backbone, we do more bandwidth in VOD video to the home than internet service will come close to for a long time.
The amount of bandwidth in the last mile has always been the real issue, but for home internet service that problem is getting much better and I would says both cable and dsl services have been able to provide over 100mb services to a house for awhile now, but there is a cost of upgrading equipment, and you will need more equipment (dslams,cmts) since you will be able to put a smaller amount of customers on a device. But these are just money issues, not technical ones, and these companies make lots of money, they are VERY profitable.
This goes for Verison also, it is very cheap for these companies to use several fiber rings around a city to get fairly cheap bandwidth, more bandwidth than they could ever use for cell phone back haul (10 gigabit ethernet between towers) but I would have to assume the bottleneck is the tower to the phone. I do not know much about this equipment works really, I am not sure if this equipment is limited by the amount of connections on the tower or the bandwidth of each connection, but I would assume that this is a issue that can be solved by spending money on more or better equipment.
I have a hard time listening to these companies whine about bandwidth, when they are making a killing, you can not even get attention in a Verison store where I live the demand is so high you get a number like you are at the DMV. The number one highest growing market is cell phone service, these companies know these very well. So having to upgrade equipment should not be a issue, it should be what they do, what they provide us, its a good problem to have!

Now about the unlimited plan thing, for most customers that buy a unlimited plan, it is not about having lots of bandwidth, its about insurance, or piece of mind!
This allows them to let someone play with the phone with out counting pennies, or that little johnny did not get a hold of my phone and run up a big bill by mistake, it lets you play with the phone with out counting minutes, but I guarantee for every 1 person that uses allot of bandwidth, you get 20 that do not use much bandwidth at all but want the unlimited option to make them feel protected from 1 bill that they are not ready for.

Re:Honest question (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625602)

Nothing has been hit, its just making the public feel it has.
Then they can milk them with fancy new tech sitting on the same rust belt tech.
They also want to segment the market with pro and business class plans.
The optical is in the ground, paid for and they know exactly the quality of their networks is and profit projections.
You could have a connection into every home in cities and suburbia, the problem is that if you as a telco roll it out, you may have to *share*.
So no rolling out until the political fix is in, one network, no sharing, pure profit back to one or two telco like networks per region.
Read all you can about Australia and New Zealand with adsl and adsl 2+, that can give a clear view.

Re:Honest question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625732)

The problem with all of it these days is no longer the last mile. (Ok it is if you live out in the boonies, or in a town with no competition) The upper limit on the last mile is 10,000mb. The hardware is not cheap, but it's not that expensive either, and certainly not beyond what Verizon is rolling out with their FIOS. Now that 10,000mb is only you talking directly to Verizon. The other 15,000 miles is the real problem.

  The best car anology is the last mile of the internet is like having a private road leading from your house to the street. You may have a real nice one where you can drive 200mph down it, but once you are on the main street you are stuck with the traffic, lower speed limits, bad driving directions, toll booths, and crappy roads. After all that then you still have to deal with the destination's private road which may be crap too. I always laugh at people who buy the fastest service and then don't understand why most websites still suck in terms of download speed.

The other portion of it is the service bandwidths are purposely set up so you would have to pay a premium to get a more symetrical connection. There is no reason for this other than to keep you from setting up your own servers for various online services.

The only real hope is more companies will take a page out of google's playbook, and just buy their own infrastructure, and bypass the telco's all together giving us more options for routing than the current over sold backbones they currently offer.

Re:Honest question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625734)

In no ways a limit on bandwidth has been reached. As far as over-the-air transmission of data goes, there's at least these things that would help: Improvement in technology (LTE - 4th generation wireless data transmission), reduction in cell size (more towers) and freeing up frequencies from the massive spectrum that is currently reserved for other uses (all of which really don't have as much value and could mostly be put on a general "data service" for the most part). Out of these, the small cell size and upgrade of technology is more or less entirely in the provider's hands, but they're a bit reluctant about either, in particular they obviously don't want to compete strongly - they just want to do as little investments as possible and milk people. Your bandwidths are not growing nearly as fast as they could.

Now, of course there's also cable bound internet. The records for a SINGLE fiber is currently ~70TB/s for shorter range and ~15.5TB/s or longer ranges according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] . Since there's no interference from the individual strands (put as many of them together as you want-they're small enough) and since they are "fairly" cheap to lay down (cheaper than roads, definitely, if you also factor in that such cables require nearly no maintenance, just a small amount of power on the transmission gear hooked up to them and occasional replacements for some of that gear)... well, basically with the investment, any western civilization could have more bandwidth than we can easily use for the foreseeable future. Neither our brains nor our computers will exceed the need any time soon, unless most of the "computer" was actually elsewhere.

And I don't know where current limitations at the provider's side lie. But it is definitely a matter of gouging people now - if bandwidth became as plentiful as the CURRENT generation of fiber optical wiring would make it if it were wired right to households, it'd also be nearly worthless. A simple upgrade to that technology as a government would probably do it would provide so much bandwidth it would be nearly worthless. 80 dollars+/month for what we have now? Hah. Maybe 1 dollar/month for those connections measured in GB/s...

Good, Unlimited is a Fantasy (0)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625120)

This is good news - 'unlimited data' is a marketing fantasy, belied by the actual 5GB caps on plans. There is finite spectrum, even if we're not close to full utilization, and there is definitely capital cost associated with each unit of bits/time in service.

Anybody who thinks he's really getting 'free' unlimited data now is being fooled and/or billed (I hear there's one obscure MVNO still offering it, but for the most part there are steep overage charges).

When the carriers drop these pretences, they're left to compete on packet prices. Where markets are competitive, this can only serve to bring down the price of wireless Internet over time. And everybody knows the cell network is just wireless Internet pretending to be a phone system. Re-investment of profits into infrastructure (increasing capacity) should also improve as they seek to compete on service to counter-balance price.

To be frank, I thought they'd milk another couple years out of the status quo before caving to the inevitable.

Re:Good, Unlimited is a Fantasy (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625304)

"Where markets are competitive"

You do realise we're talking about America, right?

Of course they will (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625206)

Everyone else is doing it, so why wouldn't they? Just like the bad old days ( for those that remember it ).

I still think this was the intent all along. Make it 'free' long enough for people to start relying on having data available, introducing even more bandwidth hog services, then after it will be hard for most to back off, start charging "per use" again. They are no better then drug dealers, except they get away with it.

It's for the best (1)

internic (453511) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625254)

I can understand why people don't like the elimination for unlimited plans, but I feel like it's for the best. The problem is that an "unlimited" plan is always a lie, always. It's never really unlimited. So-called unlimited plans (on phones, ISPs, etc.) are usually limited by having a secret cap hidden in the fine print, arbitrarily kicking off people who use "too much" in the companies opinion, imposing arbitrary limits on what sorts of connections you can make (i.e., you can only browse the web), etc. When you enter into an unlimited agreement, you should know at the outset that the provider has no intent of holding up their side of the bargain. It's much better to enter into an agreement that is reasonable and has clear explicitly stated rules that you can mutually agree upon.

The question, of course, is will the cell carrier/ISP come up with a different model that serves people better? I admit that cell companies usually choose really unreasonable models, like calling minutes packages that start charging you some exorbitant rate without warning when you go over the cap. For data there are lots of options, though, and I think it could be handled pretty reasonably. Hopefully if the terms are explicitly stated (rather than buried in the fine print or unstated rules), the people will actually have more ability to choose a provider that will deal with them fairly...if such a thing can exist in the mobile phone market.

Re:It's for the best (1)

weaponsfree (1699240) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625632)

I can understand why people don't like the elimination for unlimited plans, but I feel like it's for the best. The problem is that an "unlimited" plan is always a lie, always. It's never really unlimited.

It is possible to honestly offer "unlimited" data at N megabits per second, and that is how they market it today.

Google tells me there are, on average, 2629743.83 seconds in a month. If I'm buying "unlimited" 20 megabits per second service from my ISP, I can transfer approximately 321 gigabytes per month if I am constantly downloading at the maximum rate that we have mutually agreed upon.

I see your point, though: the lie is that you cannot really run your connection flat out without running afoul of the fine print. See Comcast's 250GB cap on their "unlimited" service, for example.

Which would you rather have?

A) 20 mbit/second "unlimited" service as described above: use it as often as you like during the month, and don't worry about your bill changing from month to month; the cap is effectively set by the 20 mbit/second data rate.

B) 100 mbit/second with a 321GB monthly cap; when you blow through the cap, you will likely pay through the nose for each extra megabit consumed.

C) Flat rate, metered, pay per megabit transferred. Perhaps with tiered pricing as practiced by some power companies.

E) Some other option?

For those in favour of "all you can eat" plans (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625260)

Isn't it generally good if the "all you can eat" plans are replaced with pay-as-you-go, because that favours those who hardly use it at all, at the cost of those use who it to download 1 trillion movies a week.

It *is* possible to have something like a very reasonable 0.01p per gigabyte plan. Just because it's pay-as-you-go, that doesn't mean prices have to be extortionate, or even worse overall than the 'unlimited plan.'

Re:For those in favour of "all you can eat" plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625352)

AT&T have decided the appropriate price is $10/GB, plus an extra monthly fee so you have the privilege of tethering. Your absurd speculation about the benevolence of US telcos is completely unfounded.

Re:For those in favour of "all you can eat" plans (1)

novium (1680776) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625374)

Verizon charges something like $2/MB. It's also forcing everyone to add on an internet plan if they join/renew their contract/get a new phone. For all the comments about how it's really a matter of making the cost reflect the reality (etc, etc), it sure looks a lot like rent-seeking to me. Which is pretty much business as usual for the phone companies, I suppose.

Re:For those in favour of "all you can eat" plans (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625440)

The off-the-top-of-my-head price of 0.01p per gig wasn't my point at all. I know it's wrong - I was making a much more important point.

I Have A Question (1)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625312)

What happens if you're using a 3G Microcell over your existing broadband connection?

Are they proposing caps and extra charges for data transfer while you pay them for extending their network for free??

Re:I Have A Question (1, Troll)

lancejjj (924211) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625444)

What happens if you're using a 3G Microcell over your existing broadband connection?

Well, it depends.

If you want that 3G Microcell to connect to the Verizon network, and have Verizon route and manage the connections and otherwise provide reliable data or voice transport service through Verizon's infrastructure on the back-end, then you should expect Verizon to charge you for that service.

On the other hand, if you do NOT want Verizon to provide that service to you, you simply don't need to use the Microcell device. In that case, you will not be using any of Verizon's infrastructure, and Verizon won't charge you any per-use charge of any kind. That's right: completely FREE.

Pretty sweet, eh?

Oh hell no, I can't leave that one alone (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625660)

No, it isn't sweet. You're getting the shorter end of the deal. If you enter into an agreement to extend their network service so they can profit from it, but you get nothing from it, then they are flat out screwing you. If you do get something out of it - either monetary compensation (which can be used to offset the expense of using their network) or service compensation (favored bandwidth status in return for providing more/better access to their network) then it is a real business deal. Remember, if it's a one-way deal, it's just one party giving a gift to another. If it's a two-way deal, then it's a business transaction.

Stop shilling for the goddamn telco monopolies.

This is about VoIP. (2, Interesting)

barfy (256323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625502)

Unlimited Data ultimately means that VoIP wins and the entire pricing structure for cell phones is over.

Cellular "minutes", must still be worthwhile or cell carriers are over.

This will be a big hit for mobile internet radio.

Phone companies wet dream (5, Insightful)

hpa (7948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625504)

The monopoly telephone companies have always been obsessed with getting users to pay by the usage unit, even when flat pricing made them more money. It does seem to reflect their thinking more than profit maximization; one possibility is that they have a vastly exaggerated notion of the inadequacies of their own plant, or alternatively they are suffering from lottery-style thinking -- the executives have happy dreams about the poor sucker who left their phone connected and got a $10,000 bill.

In the USA, at least, flat-rate long distance did not become common until it got to be way too easy to bypass the monopolists.

This is a load of crap (4, Interesting)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625516)

I find it hard to believe that millions of people having one or more computers capable of downloading movies, ISO images, Youtube, music streaming, gaming and emailing 50MB attachments in their homes can pay a flat rate for internet access with unlimited bandwith but the same people trying to view some pics or webpages on their mobile phones are causing "explosions in data traffic". Smells to me like someone is fishing for something to pin cost increases on. Frickin crooks.

Re:This is a load of crap (2, Informative)

Bruha (412869) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625648)

Verizon Corporate has consistently lost money over the last decade, the only reason they're profitable is because of the money they bleed off Verizon Wireless. If Verizon Wireless had been a separate company it would of been a gem on the NASDAQ. Same goes for AT&T wireless, AT&T bleeds the wireless division to maintain it's failing business models.

Come to Romania (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625536)

You will get Unlimited data plans for 6-9 Euros(depending on carrier).
But i have never used more than 2 GB on my iphone.

Sounds like spitting at an opportunity, again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32625678)

I don't see why so many people are whinning. {unless it is that neejerk conditioned reflex against a profitable business opportunity}

This cell phone business is like legalized drug dealing (as in heroin).

Give them a taste and they are hooked for life.

I would think the smart people would get off their duff, gin up the business plans, see the venture capitalists, and start their own cell phone companies.

The original story is misleading (2, Informative)

ewieling (90662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32625742)

I don't know what kind of "unlimited data plan" Verizon Wireless is talking about. They do not currently have and, as far as I know, never have had an unlimited data plan for "air cards" (USB dongles). Originally their "unlimited EVDO service" had a 5GB/month cap. If you exceeded that cap they terminated your service. You could not appeal. This happened to me. After the the class action suit (bruoght in California, I thing) they sent me a refund for the money I paid for the card. As I understand it the court ordered them to stop using the term "unlimited". Then they went to a throttled model where they would throttle your service speed back if you exceeded your 5GM/month limit. I did not have service at that time so I did not personally experience this. Then they stopped throttling and just billed you for over usage. US$70 for the monthly service (5GB included), then about US$250 in overage fees for the next 5GB of data. They still do this, but will now contact you if you get close to your 5GB monthly limit. How nice of them. I now only use my EVDO service when I'm at my weekend cabin. I Verizon is the only cellular provider with service at my cabin. My other options are dialup or satellite, neither is suitable for SSH. I would be much happier if 1) Verizon would stop lying and 2) their service cost US$70 per 5GB of overage.
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