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Verizon Customers: Say So Long To Unlimited Data

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the can-you-ping-me-now dept.

Cellphones 303

BogenDorpher writes "Verizon will be eliminating its unlimited smartphone data plan this summer. No longer will one be able to pay $30 a month to have unlimited data. This move is designed to 'force heavy data users to pay more for mobile data.'"

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Heavy users? (4, Interesting)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188562)

No, the plans will make most people pay more for data - they'll just really rape the people who actually used what they pay for.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188576)

Wow, in Europe, prices are going down, while data rates are going up.

Re:Heavy users? (4, Informative)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188588)

It varies. Some are going down but overall most carriers have the same problem where their network just isn't designed to handle the amount of data traffic going on these days.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188890)

How is it possible their network isn't designed for data traffic? I mean, it's not like the increase of data consumption was completely unpredictable.

Re:Heavy users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188978)

Says who? You think cellular networks predicted people streaming Netflix on cell phones?

Re:Heavy users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189182)

Very simple : SPECTRUM IS LIMITED. so, overall bitrate ressources are limited.
DSL internet does not have this kind of overall bitrate limit for a given zone (more precisely, the overall bitrate of a zone is much higher)
As a result of this, DSL internet can propose flatrates, mobile ISPs cannot on a large scale.
It's simply not possible as a business model, so they proposed it for early adopters to make people dependant on it.
Now, you will pay the real price of the scarce bandwith.

Re:Heavy users? (0)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189242)

The 3G networks were rolled out before the iPhone was announced. Nobody could have been expected to predict that phones would actually become usable for any amount of data use.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189278)

Sit down and prepare yourself for a shock:

Smart phones existed before the iPhone.

My Nokia E61 has been transferring via 3G and WLANs since 2006. It is still doing so. It doesn't even have a voice SIM, all it does is data. Five years solid data.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188600)

Given what Verizon is charging for their newer mobile broadband or for the Xoom, their new phone data plans will be obscene. I know that the Xoom data plan starts at $20 / month for a measly 1 GB and goes up to $80 / month for 10 GB.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188952)

Obscene? OBSCENE? That would be heaven to us here! $80/mo for 3GB (on top of the call plan) is obscene! $80/mo for 10GB would be incredible! It'd be cheaper than land lines!

Re:Heavy users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189224)

Just because it's worse in some other place doesn't mean it shouldn't and couldn't be better here. It's like saying "it's no problem that you got stabbed because in other places people get shot".

Re:Heavy users? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188602)

In Finland, I have the slowest dataplan of about 500kbps, unlimited, in my phone, 4,99 €/month, going down. Unlimited unlimited is now about 10 € / month, or 14€ / month including an USB modem...

Re:Heavy users? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188622)

I propose modding you down as a form of revenge for you having a better society than us in the US~

Maybe we could just block all non-US IPs~ <--- see the tilde? Good.

Re:Heavy users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188660)

Right, a tilde is that thing that turns an n into an ñ.

But what exactly has it to do with your failed attempt at humour?

Re:Heavy users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188816)

Consider -- 1. the only people on earth prone to wantonly suffix their sentences with a tilde are the Japanese. 2. It is a well known factoid that internet service in Japan -- mobile or not -- is almost ridiculously good, matched only by South Korea and possibly Sweden.
I conclude that you are being mocked by a small yellow person with a phat pipe.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188968)

Failed attempt? Not with me, I lolled a bit. He even points to the tilde, giving me hope he is joking (and jealous).
I just hope he remembers no society is perfect. Couldn't give you the imperfectness of Sweden by the way.

Re:Heavy users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188886)

Aaw yeah, one of the few plus sides of having low population density.

Re:Heavy users? (2)

zyzko (6739) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189226)

I wouldn't be sure about the going down part. Many telco-executives have talked about instituting data caps because people use too much (which is quite absurd because 1-2 years ago they pushed really hard to market usb sticks and 3G data as a replacement for cable/dsl and best offers where in the range of 7.99 / month with usb modem (unlimited) if you signed up for 24 months. Now they are slowly starting to whine. Want to buy an iPad on contract with unlimited data? Can't do that - they all have caps (except one carrier which offers an "iPad" SIM but incidentally they are not on the "works with" list at apple.com). Of course nothing stops you from buing your iPad retail without 3G SIM and just order a generic data card and ask for micro-sim.

Yes, data is cheap here. I currently have a Galaxy S which I bought on contract which I usually don't do. 24 months term, eur 26,90 /month. Phone, plan with unlimited data (speed and amount) (I pay for my minutes and texts per usage (0,069e min or per sms), my usage on those is so low that no point of taking fixed package), and a second data-only sim (also unlimited) and a complimentary 3g usb modem. And the phone is unlocked from day 1 so as long as I pay the monthly bills I can switch carriers or use a different SIM when travelling.

But the point is: The operators do want to get rid of unlimited data, that is their wet dream. But nobody dares to do it first for all their users, but they are turning up the heat slowly with iPad.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189320)

In Finland, I have unlimited speed (depending the network, currently 14,4Mbits down and 5,76 up) and unlimited amount, in my phone, laptop or anything else where I just can connect SIM card or my phone. 2€/month.

The bad side is, my phone does only support 7.2Mbits down and 0,5Mbits up but as I can swap SIM card to any device, I sometimes swap it to my HSDPA/HSUPA capable 3G dongle for full speed. And this contract is valid for next 18 months...

But now typical is 512Kbits/4,99€ with unlimited data amount for others. It is enough for mobile phones but computers not if wanted to use youtube or anything else video sites with good quality on laptop screen.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189180)

Not true! Numericable(.fr) just came out with an unlimited calls/unlimited data combo for only €29 a month.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

Edzilla2000 (1261030) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189312)

First of all, it's in euros, not dollars. Big difference. And then it's only if you are also with them for your cable internet(if you're not it's 50 euros), you're stuck with them for 2 years, only one person in the household may subscribe to the plan. Also, their "unlimited Internet" is capped at 500mb, their "unlimited voice plan" is capped at 99 different number a month, and the 3G speed is capped at 300kb/s. Amazing unlimited plan, right?

Re:Heavy users? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189272)

Actually, one of the major carriers in NL announced that they will start charging extra for certain services such as Skype, Ping, and WhatsApp. [slashdot.org] Other carriers are eagerly following suit. The driver for this is not data congestion but the fact that these services eat into their traditional revenue, however they are already considering charging extra for data-heavy services like Youtube. In other words, throwing net neutrality out the window.

On the plus side, EC commissioner ms. Kroes is still kicking ass and taking names, and just launched a proposal to cap outrageous data roaming charges in Europe to €0.90/MB, lowering this further to €0.50/MB in 2014. Current charges are typically over €2/MB (in some cases it's €10). That price cap is such that one can now comfortably enable data roaming when travelling within Europe.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189286)

Hate to break it to you, but worldwide a LOT of mobile operators - who have historically operated a simple billing system of "customer uses more, we charge them more" have spotted that bandwidth has a habit of getting cheaper, noted that 4G essentially eliminates dedicated voice traffic altogether (it's all VoIP) and are more than a little concerned.

There are two obvious solutions to this:

1. Keep the bandwidth cheap and make up the difference in numbers by encouraging more people to use the network more.

Paradoxically, this is quite expensive. Many operators already find that their network is bursting at the seams, and a significant capacity upgrade is financially out of the question.

2. Find some way of fiddling with the traffic so you can advertise cheap bandwidth but at the same time massage its usage so as to keep the money coming in.

I'm talking about things like blocking any sort of voice traffic except that which goes through their own network that they can charge you separately for - and using DPI to ensure skype can't get around this. You'd be amazed how poor things like SSL are at defeating this. If push comes to shove, the carrier will simply block any traffic that consists of a constant two-way stream of small packets going over a single connection - typical for voice, unusual for, say, HTTPS.

Re:Heavy users? (0)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188632)

Speaking of heavy users, if there was an unlimited alcohol plan at the grocery store, they'd probably want to charge extra for the guy I ran into the other day who was drinking a homemade cranberry juice and vodka cocktail out of a 2 liter bottle at 3pm.

Re:Heavy users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188756)

He was a heavy winner!

Re:Heavy users? (1, Interesting)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188828)

Alcohol is a tad expensive to use for an analogy, what about an all you can eat buffet. Only difference, the price of food dosn't go down as technology upgrades, yet these buffets still manage to stay in business, despite not asking for more money from customers who weigh over 200 LBs.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188878)

The price of food does go down as technology upgrades, or was that part of your point?
And buffets stay in business by overcharging so much that even the biggest eater is profitable.
If Verizon could charge $600/mo for unlimited (comparable price to eating unlimited at a buffet daily), then I'm sure they could make themselves profitable even for their heaviest users too.

Re:Heavy users? (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189050)

Actually, a lot of buffets have instituted 90, 60, or 30 minute time limits.

One of my best friends is the type who is in spectacularly fit shape yet has one of those envious metabolisms where he eats more than three people combined every day and doesn't really gain a pound. He's been kicked out of buffets numerous times for basically eating "too much food" (example: six plates of snow crab legs in one sitting). It's happened many times at different locales.

The prices have been steadily going up which is understandable considering that food prices are going ever higher, but the service is actually being reduced what with the time limits and being ejected for arbitrary reasons.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189164)

It's worth noting that there are a lot of places that are buffets that do not advertise "All You Can Eat." Oddly enough, that's still pretty analogous to what's going on here with Verizon.

Heavy users? (2, Interesting)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188634)

A finite price for something "unlimited"? Interesting. Tragedy of the commons comes to wireless.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188852)

It's not unlimited in the sense that you can transfer an unlimited amount of data. There is generally either a set maximum data rate or the communication protocols at hand have a maximum data rate.

Re:Heavy users? (4, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188932)

"Unlimited" means that you pay a fixed price and can use the network up to the limits that are due to the technology and the infrastructure capacity, not that you can swallow up the whole Google Earth database over your mobile connection.

All carriers I have used - in Japan and Europe at least - publish information about the maximum capacity for speed, latency, etc. on their "unlimited" connections. It is then their responsibility to ensure that such capacity is available. Most users of the network understand this, and have no issues with the technology and infrastructure limits; the fixed plan within these limits is good, because you can plan ahead, and don't need to make complex calculations before opening the next email or web page.

There is no "tragedy of the commons" in this situation at all.

Re:Heavy users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189400)

"Unlimited" means that you pay a fixed price and can use the network up to the limits

This is why I don't like this.

Re:Heavy users? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189454)

Well, I prefer a fixed plan and clear data rate limits (based on business or technological reasons) to a price per amount of data transferred. Making decisions when facing fixed constraints is a lot easier, and I have no extra time to waste on figuring out what is my marginal cost and marginal utility on a byte by byte basis. I much rather pay the provider to manage their resources and to ensure the promised data rate over a longer period of time than the TTL of a network packet.

There are significant savings for the whole economy from transaction costs in this situation -- the phone company needs to optimize a much simpler problem than the mass of individuals facing a variable plan, and in a competitive market it has a very strong incentive to do so.

Re:Heavy users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189018)

Pretty much. I'm trying to figure out why, as demand for something increases, rather than increasing supply they continue to raise prices to reach equilibrium.

Yeah, in the short term it might give them some breathing room but if they keep announcing faster and faster speeds without the ability to back it up, it'll lead to stagnation of technologies.

The free market will provide?

Re:Heavy users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189210)

Oh, great, you had me worried for a while. I thought they were going to discriminate against fat people, being the USA and all.

Money Grubbing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188586)

Why not just turn us upside down and shake us? There would be slightly more dignity in that, at least.

Re:Money Grubbing (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189470)

For some, yes, maybe, I don't know?

I have to be honest here. I've been monitoring my data use and I barely go above .269 gigs, or 275.13 mb, according to Verizon's tracking of my data. This is a heavy months so I might break .5 gigs. And you know what? Because I have a smartphone now Verizon is FORCING me to pay the $30 a month for unlimited data. With tiered pricing, *goes to read the article to see how much he'll save* ... for frack's sake.

I'm tempted now to upgrade to a tethered plan while I am grandfathered in and downloading the entire net twice.

I would like to remind everyone (3, Informative)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188598)

That virgin mobile has unlimited internet plans starting at $25 a month, plus you can carry over your existing number.

Re:I would like to remind everyone (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188694)

And by unlimited, they mean unlimited connectivity to up to 5GB per month, just like sprint, their parent company.

Re:I would like to remind everyone (2)

timothyb89 (1259272) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188758)

Just being picky, but... depending on the plan, Sprint's data can actually be really unlimited. Any device with the extra $10/m 4G addon gives you real unlimited 3G/4G data.

Re:I would like to remind everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188836)

To add further, the 10$ addon charge now applies to all data packages, upon renewal or activation, even in markets and devices that are not capable of 4g. Also, though the fine print states the old plans were limited, my research indicated they only enforced that clause against data cards and hotspot devices, not against phones.

I went a couple months relying solely on my phone's tether for access and used 8-12GB per month, for three months in a row and never heard a peep from sprint about it. No, I do not have the tether option on my bill. I pay only for minutes, and unlimited data/msging.

Re:I would like to remind everyone (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189078)

Just being picky, but how long do you figure that will last? I'd wager at least half of the capped data plans started out as "completely unlimited". Once someone in the higher ranks of corporate sees dollar signs in his eyes, Virgin might falter as well.

However, let's say that Sprint is pretty much the last holdout among wireless carriers. They really do offer truly unlimited and use this as a marketing tactic. Unless they have a significant amount of people moving over to them for specifically that reason, they will lose out to the other companies who are screwing over a (currently) minority of users who expend a lot of data. At that point Sprint will either fold, stop doing the whole "unlimited" thing, or keep doing it but remain in a pathetic, underpowered last place among the major wireless carriers.

Despite this, we have three things working in our favor.

One, bandwidth is getting cheaper every day. New devices are constantly designed, new and better codecs are thought up, etc.

Two, the proliferation of things like Netflix, Hulu, Steam, YouTube, etc. means that for the last 5 years or so people have been getting more and more used to getting the media they want when they want.

Third, the last one or two generations of people have a tremendous sense of entitlement. They will literally whine their way to victory.

Re:I would like to remind everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189128)

I have used 88 + GB per month on Sprint for 4+ consecutive months. The speed gets capped at 5GB but they still provide unlimited data.

Re:I would like to remind everyone (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189238)

And by unlimited, they mean unlimited connectivity to up to 5GB per month, just like sprint, their parent company.

Virgin Mobile is a brand that uses various Networks, around the globe. Sprint in the US only.

Re:I would like to remind everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188726)

Yeah, unlimited 5GB... But even if it would be *unlimited*, do you think one carrier would do such a stupid move if he would not *know* for sure, that the other carriers will follow??

Re:I would like to remind everyone (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188788)

I'll add that Virgin also charges you the advertised price. If it's $29.99, you'll pay that plus sales tax. With every other company, you pay "fees" that amount to almost $10 in addition to the advertised price.

However, the downside is they have very few phones to choose from. Like, usually less than 5.

It's simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189176)

As long as there are traditional ISPs with unlimited data, there will be mobile providers with unlimited data.

Re:I would like to remind everyone (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189474)

Is it really unlimited though? T-Mobile claim that theirs is but actually the limit is 3GB per month.

Always about squeezing out more profits (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188628)

Once they work every angle for increasing profits they go after the handful using more than the average. Once they screw over that handful where will they go next to increase their bonuses? The companies are profitable it's it's this sick need to increase profits every year so they can justify multi-million dollar bonuses. Millions suffer so a handful can claim big bonuses.

Re:Always about squeezing out more profits (2)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188894)

Once they work every angle for increasing profits they go after the handful using more than the average.

That "handful" is and always will be about 50% of their users.

Re:Always about squeezing out more profits (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189328)

That "handful" (using more than the average) is and always will be about 50% of their users.

No. 50% of users use more than the median. If you have 100 people downloading one GB or less, and one person downloading 100 GB, then the average is more than one GB, and only one of 101 users is above average. Kicking off that one user would significantly reduce the cost, and the 100 users would fully agree with that.

Advertisers (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188636)

Does your phone download all the ads from mass media sites like your regular browser?

If so, for what it's worth, you all should raise holy hell about it... or use only the wifi, if the phone has it... then watch them raise their rates to make up for lack of use.. like the water companies are doing due to 'excessive conservation'..

Re:Advertisers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188778)

I don't look at ads on my computer, except for Hulu, and I don't look at them on my phone either. Root the phone, and install AdFree. Problem solved.

Wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188658)

"This move is designed to 'force heavy data users to pay more for mobile data.'""

No, this move is a result of the recent mergers in the industry and the reduced competition.

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188682)

It's both.

Re:Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188814)

This likely wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the mergers.

Re:Wrong (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188948)

It also likely wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the money.

Australia's just been suffering for a long time (1)

unreadepitaph (1537383) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188680)

Aussie telcos raped(still rape) their customers with DATA prices. Only recently have we started to get unlimited caps for mobile, but even then as soon as you roam you get charged through the teeth. It's sad that the US companies decided to go down this path, but they're gonna start posting some record profits so maybe it's a good time to invest.

Re:Australia's just been suffering for a long time (1)

Grail (18233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188748)

The funny thing is that even with caps on data, the Australian mobile carriers are still screaming like stuck pigs about their customers having the audacity to actually use the quota that they've been sold!

Re:Australia's just been suffering for a long time (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188806)

I'm with virgin. Pre-paid. $19 gets you 1GB (with the usual "$50 value!" of phone usage thrown in.

That's pretty much all I need for a month.

Re:Australia's just been suffering for a long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189326)

I'm with virgin.

No wonder... You post on /. , don't have time to take care of that virginity near you <wink>.

Let me correct this (2)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188696)

"Verizon will be eliminating its unlimited smartphone data plan this summer. No longer will one be able to pay $30 a month to have unlimited data. This move is designed to 'force heavy data users to pay more for mobile data.'"

This move is designed to 'force heavy data users to find a better phone vendor'.

Re:Let me correct this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188722)

This move is designed to 'force heavy data users to find a better phone vendor'.

AT&T? Ha, joke is on you, America!

Re:Let me correct this (5, Insightful)

erice (13380) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188762)

This move is designed to 'force heavy data users to find a better phone vendor'

Nah. That's being taken care of. T-Mobile is being borged into AT&T. Sprint will be soon be extinguished or merged out of existence.

Verizon and AT&T will join together in the monetization of data users. The unlimited plans were just a temporary measure to get their users hooked. Now the surviving duopoly will apply frighteningly expensive overuse fees to encourage their addicts to pay out big bucks for large plans. It worked so well for voice. Did you expect anything else?

Re:Let me correct this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188980)

Well, they could in a few years find themselves in a position similar to the record industry.

Imagine wi-fi hotspots becoming more of the norm and then you could see people opting for tablets and devices similar to the iTouch sneaking in.

People using Skype or similar apps for phone and going back to IM.

They could push the market to go back to using phones for phone calls and other systems for handling email.

I don't think these executives realize how quickly the smart phone could turn into a luxury item, that the chick can do without. If they ever push that tipping point, they could see their profits drop like an anchor in the Mariana Trench.

Re:Let me correct this (1)

versificator (2031720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188796)

i did exactly that when O2 here in the UK started hounding me for exceeding their 4GB limit on their 'unlimited' tariff. so i heard about giffgaff [giffgaff.com] (which funnily enough, is an MNVO that runs on the O2 network and is in fact a wholly owned subsidiary of O2) yet they offer truly uncapped data with their 'goodybags'

Welcome to Australia... (3, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188718)

We're also upgrading your service with Oceanic Lag, shaped broadband, taking 100 or so of your cable channels and cutting off Huvu.

All complaints are to be directed to 'Telstra', which I've been assured is Australian for 'Know Your Place, You Filthy Peasant'.

Re:Welcome to Australia... (1)

Rockets84 (2047424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188744)

Don't forget charging you double for all your Games and licensed software!

Re:Welcome to Australia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189132)

No idea what this has to do with Verizon getting rid of its unlimited data plan...

However as a Australian (not with Telstra though) I get what I pay for with my broadband. I pay for MB/256kb adsl and I get consistent and reliable 1.5MB/256kb adsl. I don't have to pay random taxes and surcharges on top of my monthly cost. My plan does not get changed at the whim of my provider. I do not have my torrents throttled. As far as I am aware of, my connection has no DPI on it. I have never run into a website which has been blocked by anyone other then myself.

I prefer shaped broadband to having overage fees. If I go over my 25gb on-peak/25gb off-peak download limit, I get shaped to 256kb/256kb. I don't get charged at a ridiculous rate for any data overage. Not to mention that the shaped plans are advertised as shaped plans. None of this "Unlimited Broadband" *tiny small print* Unlimited plans limited to x GB of downloads/uploads per month.

As for Telstra, I'd compare them to a USA phone company (if I remember right, the current CEO is from one of the USA media companies...).

Regarding the "Oceanic lag", its not really a issue beyond doing stuff that is latency sensitive. Who cares if a webpage takes 100ms longer to respond? It's not like we can just break the laws of physics and send data at faster then light speeds...

This is why communications should be socialized (2, Interesting)

mozumder (178398) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188768)

Communications is a basic government service, as spelled out in the US constitution.

At this point, government should just buy-out Verizon. They're only a 100 billion company, tiny compared to the annual federal budget.

Let's limit the power of private companies to create megabusinesses through government intervention.

We need more government in our lives, and less freedom of choice.

Remember, freedom is code-word for corporate control.

I trust the hard-working government more than I trust lazy private companies.

Re:This is why communications should be socialized (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188832)

The anarchist in me cringes... take two problems and just make it one really big problem? No. Corporations tend to be inherently corrupt, yes. But governments also tend to be inherently corrupt. I'd rather have two inherently corrupt beasts butting heads with each other over which one will receive control over me than a single beast taking the control over me however it sees fit. At least with the two butting heads with each other, there's potential for me to escape without significant enough notice as the two busy themselves with each other.

The better solution is to get rid of them both and ditch the internet... oh shit. *clicks Post Anonymously* ... I'm sorry Slashdot...

Re:This is why communications should be socialized (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189358)

The anarchist in me cringes... take two problems and just make it one really big problem? No. Corporations tend to be inherently corrupt, yes. But governments also tend to be inherently corrupt. I'd rather have two inherently corrupt beasts butting heads with each other over which one will receive control over me than a single beast taking the control over me however it sees fit. At least with the two butting heads with each other, there's potential for me to escape without significant enough notice as the two busy themselves with each other.

Wishful thinking in the near future. Maybe it was so about 20 years ago, times did change (for worse).

The better solution is to get rid of them both and ditch the internet... oh shit. *clicks Post Anonymously* ... I'm sorry Slashdot...

Can we, please, stop after getting rid of them and keep the internet?

Re:This is why communications should be socialized (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188850)

This being the same government that is spending hundreds of billions on foreign wars, and maintaining outposts throughout the world. Not to mention many redundant organizations within said structure, and managed to pass a health care bill that is worse than not having it, oh yeah, and the patriot act... wonderful pieces of legislation all. Sorry, but you as a consumer always have the option to vote with your wallet when it comes to a corporation. That isn't so with the government who will take your home or stick you in prison if you don't pay.

Re:This is why communications should be socialized (1)

mozumder (178398) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188902)

Indeed, because the only thing you can "vote" on is consumer spending.

Re:This is why communications should be socialized (2)

myotheridislower (2144830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188992)

Without that health care bill, I wouldn't have health care at all right now. I have a pre-existing condition and can't afford coverage but I get to stay on my parents plan a little longer and then will have an insurance plan fully, or mostly, subsidized by the government. There are bad parts about the plan, mainly because it didn't go far enough toward a true public option, but it has helped many people like me.

Re:This is why communications should be socialized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189440)

I have an issue with product through which you cannot vote with your wallet.

Frankly, ATT, Verizon, they offer basically the same thing, but I CAN legitimately choose to go without said service if corporate behaviors become unacceptable.

Services with which it would be considered irrational to go without (police, fire, medical, public transit, electricity, water) are, for the most part, run by the government in most countries because 1) the natural monopoly they create and 2) the necessity of the service outweighs the benefits of competition and the challenges of instituting regulations on private industry in order to make these services "fair". The US generally chooses to privatize electric and medical services, for what reason isn't exactly clear. I get shitty care from Kaiser. My alternative is to ask my employer to pay double (double, beyond already high 9% of gross revenue!?!?!?WTF!?!) to get a better plan with United Health Care, that is still pretty shitty.

Sure, the US is a great country to be sick in if you have $400,000 in the bank to pay out of pocket, otherwise, prepare to wait for UHC or KP to process your forms in roughly the same bureaucratic nightmare that every country with socialized medicine has... but be prepared to watch your insurance pay double (per capita) what would be paid in those countries, and to witness several people asked to leave the ER who are refused service because they cannot pay.

That's a fucked up system. *shakes head*

If communications were anywhere near as fucked up in this country as the health system, yes, I would want the government to intervene.

I don't see another alternative. If it was an absolutely essential service to a normal modern life, and cost almost triple here what it does in other countries for only marginally better (and often worse) service, I would be furious and demand change.

Why the fuck aren't you?

Re:This is why communications should be socialized (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189080)

I trust the hard-working government more than I trust lazy private companies.

This is a false dilemma. You shouldn't trust either. The fact is when you give too much power to one person or group of people, they will eventually abuse that power.

The advantage of corporations is you can switch to another one if you are dissatisfied. There's only one government, but the advantage there is if you want to change something, you can convince enough other people that it should be changed, and then change it.

Each has its advantage and disadvantage in different situations, don't make the mistake of assuming one is better than the other. They are both bad.

Re:This is why communications should be socialized (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189190)

I don't see how you're disagreeing with the GP. You're saying they're both bad, he's saying one is worse than the other.

Re:This is why communications should be socialized (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189208)

Actually, you can change government pretty easily. You just have to move. Many people do, for that precisse reason.

Re:This is why communications should be socialized (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189088)

Rather than have the government take over yet another aspect of our daily lives, I would propose that the better solution is the same thing that many net neutrality advocates offer when asked about how to handle the vicious, uncompetitive monopolies that dominate the home internet business.

Buy out the networks. Buy out the wireless towers and infrastructure. Make upkeep the responsibility of the government just as the roads, rail, power, and phone lines are. Let the carriers compete for access, just as we would have ISPs compete for it.

I want my Razr back (1)

mcescalante (2013696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188770)

Time to make the move. I thought Verizon would at least have the courtesy to grandfather all current data plans and let us stick with the $30 unlimited plan, but I guess not.

It's not that I'm a data whore and that I plan on slurping 10GB a month on my phone (I actually use under 300MB a month), it's more just the concept of being metered and having to check and worry about what I'm using.

That said, all major phone carriers are really making terrible decisions right now, and I should just move back to my silver Motorola Razr that I had 3 years ago and have a few hundred minutes and texting.

this just makes me sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188784)

And I don't even know why.

Its as if all the joy and light is being sucked out of the world one by one. And I'm running out of places to turn because the general public is stupid enough to accept it.

what's wrong? (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188786)

We used to complain that service providers advertise "unlimited dataplan" while putting cap and implementing "fair use". Now they admit that they can't sell you unlimited dataplan, why do we keep complaining?

Re:what's wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188826)

Because it's still a shitty business practice, they're still ripping you off and they can still get away with it due to lack of any real competition.

Re:what's wrong? (1)

myotheridislower (2144830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189006)

Because we want them to use some of their record profits to expand coverage and capacity so they can both promise and deliver unlimited data. They really shouldn't be given a choice considering much of their infrastructure was either paid for by the government or made possible by a government granted monopoly.

caps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188802)

How can it be a problem if everyone has the same 5 gig cap.
I dont understand can someone explain.

It's not an unlimited resource (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188830)

It takes resources to provide the bandwidth so what is so unreasonable about charging for the bandwidth? Otherwise the light users are subsidising the heavy users. There are always scarce resources to be shared. At least this model provides a way for costs to be recovered without screwing with priority of data or throttling.

Re:It's not an unlimited resource (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188842)

At least this model provides a way for costs to be recovered without screwing with priority of data or throttling.

Except that they're going to do that, too. They are also lying about how "scarce" this resource really is, so that they can turn their shitty service into a profit center instead of actually earning the billions they're raking in.

Re:It's not an unlimited resource (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188872)

The ISPs that do this are trying to essentially control the rate of technological progress. They want to be the ones throttling it to maximize their own profits, only raising their caps when it is the most profitable for them to do so. They set the caps a lot lower than "necessary". It has also been established that a lot of these companies have been lowering the amount of money spent on network upgrades in the last decade and they're still screaming about not being able to supply the bandwidth being used by their customers...

Try again to guess which side of this conflict is bad.

Re:It's not an unlimited resource (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188930)

That's fine. Just stop advertising it as unlimited and I'll stop complaining.

Given that unlimited isn't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188870)

...doesn't this just mean they're finally being honest about the product they're selling?

Dear Providers, (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188900)

please just forget all flatrates. IMHO Flatrates should be forbidden, because they are misleading at best. Flatrates are bets that 50% of the users will never go close to the limit where it would be not profitable (you dont need more than 1GB if you just have private email and open a few times per month a web page - but hey, exactly these people are the ones you can scare in the shop - they will overpay you to be sure not to overpay even more). This bet is not getting fairer by declaring "heavy users" afterwards and changing the contract conditions.

If mobile providers would be forced to compete by a single, transparent Money/GB value (maybe slightly regressive with amount of data, but *not* a factor of 10 or 100), and the customers would be free to choose the mobile phones independently, we would be spared from all this shit.

Re:Dear Providers, (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189390)

If mobile providers would be forced to compete by a single, transparent Money/GB value (maybe slightly regressive with amount of data, but *not* a factor of 10 or 100), and the customers would be free to choose the mobile phones independently, we would be spared from all this shit.

The phone company will always charge some amount to cover the cost, plus some amount that is profit. The actual cost is so many dollars or cents per GB, plus some fixed cost of having you as a customer, plus some cost to find out what your payment is. At the moment their cost to find out how much you should pay is zero. If you start metering, then you need to do it precisely because people will complain if you overcharge them, and then it gets expensive. So if you had 100 people paying x dollars each for a 3GB data plan for a total of 100x dollars; these 100 people would have to pay more than 100x dollars when the traffic is metered. Obviously everyone actually close to 3GB would have to pay a lot more. Everyone at or above average would pay more. For a 3 GB plan, the average is likely something like 1.2 GB. Since the total cost goes up, a 1 GB user would now pay the same as they paid for the 3GB plan.

It could have been worse (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36188926)

Along with this, VZW was also working on changing billing, so you would also get charged for the data you consumed when using Verizon's own applications. In short double-dipping... charging you for the application, and then charging you for the data their application used.

It was full steam ahead, and only a couple months from implementation across the board, when the federal government stepped in and started "investigating" with the obvious threat of legal action. VZW immediately took it off the table, and never spoke of it again. The pieces are all still in-place, though. Though I can't predict with any certainty, I fully expect this to come out of hiding the moment a more "business-friendly" (lazy, harried, corrupt, Republican, whichever) administration takes over the helm of the US Gov.

So, this post will be here with my prediction, and a solid rebuttal the next time someone tells you the government never does anything good for the people, that we should eliminate the government and trust big corporations to do the right thing, or that all political parties are the same.

not really a suprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189030)

For years phone companies have been selling data plans advertised as "all you can eat", but pricing them based on assumptions of low average use. This obviously doesn't add up.

The companies have the following choices:

1) Choke off data rates according to a secret amount of (un)fair use
2) Be honest about this ("data rate reduced to xMB/s after yMB of download per month")
3) Price the plans according the belief people will actually use them as advertised (duh!)

or

4) Get out of the "all you can eat" market altogether.

Personally I'd prefer (2), but I guess the companies think they can't compete by being honest in their advertising...

Forcing 'heavy users' to pay more... (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189090)

Wasn't this what the damn $30 "unlimited" plan was doing already?

Oh wait. Nobody likes when one points out the elephant in the room. Silly me!

To all you Verizon customers who laughed... (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 3 years ago | (#36189114)

To all you Verizon customers who laughed at us AT&T customers when we lost our unlimited data plans... ... suck it!

wifi magic jack laptop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36189144)

Just get a laptop with wi-fi and a magic jack.

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