New iPhone Carriers Aim To Control, Or Profit From, Mobile Data Consumption

You might be thinking; What are my Options?

New iPhone Carriers Aim To Control, Or Profit From, Mobile Data Consumption, BY Kit Eaton

Since the iPhone first arrived on the scene, it has been used to access mobile data like no other device before it. Owners of iPhones browse the web, download apps, upload photos to social networks, and generally download more and more data on the fly than others. The device’s popularity–and users’ associated habits–have stressed phone networks to the point that over the previous year or so, iPhone carriers (particularly in the U.S.) have slapped data limits on the plans they offer, even what they call “unlimited” plans, in an attempt to preserve their network’s stability.

With the arrival of the iPhone 4S, which is expected to sell in the tens of millions by Christmas alone, cell phone networks are going to be even more pressed. These businesses are reacting.

AT&T is perhaps the most high-profile network to defend itself against what they deem “bandwidth hogs” using iPhones. Earlier this year, the company announced that bandwidth “throttling” would be imposed on unlimited data plan customers, starting October 1st. True to that promise, AT&T has started to draw down the speed on what it says is just “5%” of its userbase–people whose massive data burden is disproportionately large, compared to everyone else’s. They’re saying these bandwidth hogs access twelve times as much data as the average smartphone user in the other 95% of their userbase.

Lest Apple fans call bias, AT&T’s also sensitive to other smartphone users. Android is such a massive player in the market, AT&T just released a Smart Wi-Fi app that allows “Android customers to locate and seamlessly connect to Wi-Fi hotspots” and even “helps customers manage their wireless data usage by auto-connecting to Wi-Fi instead of using a wireless connection.” That sounds sweet, and many an Android user will benefit.

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