United States broadband customers have long had the luxury of flat-rate broadband pricing.Â One monthly fee got you unlimited bandwidth, sparing us from having to count megabits up and down.Â But now,Â broadband carriers are either implementing tiered pricing (such as BendBroadband) or considering it (Comcast and others) in response to bandwidth intensive usage models such as online video streaming and Bit Torrent.
On the wireless side, Americans also enjoy unlimited amounts of bandwidth on our mobile handsets.Â Verizon Wireless was the first telco to implement a ceiling to their “unlimited” mobile broadband EV-DO service when they capped bandwidth at 5GB/month.Â However, for mobile handsets handset such as Nokia, Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices, major US wireless companies are still offering a mobile data plan with unlimited bandwidth up and down.
While reading this article about Qik (covered before), a warning light flashed in my head.Â Will bandwidth intensive mobile applications such as Qik and others force mobile telcos such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint/Nextel, and T-Mobile to institute a mobile data bandwidth cap and tiered mobile data plan prices?
You see, Qik is an application that allows you to stream live video to the web, producing large volumes of data for mobile telcos to handle.Â I’m sure that additional bandwidth-intensive applications are on the way, especially with more and more mobile handsets coming out with advanced hardware features.
My guess is that yes – unlimited mobile data will be a thing of the past within 5 years.Â The mobile carriers have already shown with SMS that they’ll exploit every angle to improve their profit margins.Â Rightfully so because they are a corporation, which exists mainly to create wealth for shareholders.
Enjoy your unlimited mobile data while you still can.