NY Times: Unlimited data for mobile devices soon a thing of the past

New data plans from cell phone service providers may be on the way, according to an article from the NY Times. Photo credit: Politico.com

The way you use data on your mobile device (smartphone, tablet) may soon determine how much you pay for cellular service, according to a New York Times article.

The way that customers are currently charged for data on Verizon and AT&T’s networks is based on a tiered plan – you pay a flat rate for a certain amount of data you can use per month.

But American wireless providers may soon change to a new plan that’s being used in Indonesia – a country where almost a third of the population is under 15 years old.

The idea behind the new data plans is you pay based on what you use data for.

In Indonesia, for example, there is a new plan called ‘FlexiChat’ for people who want one thing: to be able to check and update Facebook and Twitter on their phone.

Why it’s important

Benefits of pay how you use plans are:

  • more efficient use of data on already stressed networks
  • heavy data users pay for that usage

Edit: To help make this concept easier to understand, the best way to think about the new plans is this:

  • companies will charge less for customers who don’t do data intensive tasks (mainly checking and updating Facebook, Twitter, e-mail)
  • companies will charge more for customers who frequently do data intensive tasks (frequently streaming videos from services like YouTube, streaming music from Pandora)

From the New York Times’ article, referring to the new plans based on how you use data:

“This is going to have a direct effect on data plans around the world,” said Hans Vestberg, chief executive of Ericsson, the leading maker of mobile networking equipment.

“Without more efficient use of networks, the vast majority of people on this planet will be cut off from the Internet.”

If you’re confused, here’s a video that might help:

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