The Case for Limited Data: Verizon’s Stance

In a recent press release, Verizon expressed their argument as to why unlimited data in general was a bad idea not only for their profits, but for the user experience of consumers. Verizon’s findings, though perhaps biased, are interesting to consider in wake of the numerous controversies that telecommunications companies have seen over the past few months.

Verizon, in a public release written by the founder and president of the technology industry analyst firm J. Gold Associates, offers practical data in support of their claim. Perhaps most importantly, Verizon alleges that users rarely use enough data to come close to a monthly cap that is reasonably priced, even if you consolidate Wi-Fi usage within their data plan. This claim, however, seems dubious when you consider Verizon’s actual pricing on their website. The plans offered under the single line section of Verizon’s website, for example, offer between 1 and 2 GB of data a month, and for each gigabyte over that amount, you will pay anywhere from 15 to 30 dollars.

Verizon estimates that this combined number is 8.9 GB for iPhones and 6.8 for Android devices, about a 7.8 GB average. That would cost, with a single-line plan, either 270 or 90 dollars a month, based on the two plans advertised directly on their website. A consideration of whether or not this is affordable mostly falls into a question of how much cell phone service should cost, a question that is ultimately subjective based on how much value is put into these wireless services.

Furthermore, Verizon states that unlimited data would cause problems for users, with overcrowding in their connections causing a slower overall service. There is no doubt that the allowance of unlimited data for people would cause connections to slow, and here I think is where Verizon’s points are especially convincing. If you use mobile data on a phone or other device, you probably can attest to the relative speed of the connection—currently there is not a problem with overcrowding, though in many extremely rural areas there may be weak connections. If you have a grandfathered unlimited data plan, you may notice that your connection will eventually get slower. Verizon never offered these plans, but for other providers, unlimited connections are regularly throttled intentionally in order to dissuade users from using too much data.

However, this view of Verizon is perhaps best supplemented with its recent history, especially in the Net Neutrality debacle that has been going on for the past few years, culminating in the last few months. With the obvious attempts that telecom companies—Verizon included—made in an attempt to effectively get more money out of their customers, perhaps it is more likely that this report is simply to cover up an attempt to maximize profits. No matter the outcome, Verizon will ultimately be in competition with other service providers, and without the monopolies held by companies such as Comcast in certain rural areas of the United States, they must always be one-upping their competition in terms of service quality.

Categories: Science & Tech


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