No Contract Smartphones vs Unlimited
Unlimited plans for both contract and no contract smartphones have been promoted by cell phone carriers as a means of providing you all the talk, web and text service you need, but at one simple monthly price.
Unlimited plans have become widely popular, especially with smartphone users who are under monthly contracts and demand the latest devices and best use for their technology. But many have found out the hard way that there is more to this once you include the fine print in many of these unlimited plans. Unfortunately, the word “unlimited” has morphed in the broadband arena to mean unlimited until some invisible and/or set limit. The result we are left with is data throttling.
The ugly truth is that as smartphones become more and more popular, data networks are having to process and handle more data and network traffic. As the traffic increases, so does the congestion that many networks are having as a symptom of. Among many, there is a belief that many internet providers would rather slow everyone down than improve or invest into more hardware to support more traffic. What this could mean as a consumer is slower speeds after certain points that are just above or at dialup speeds.
• For users of AT&T, if you are considered in the top 5 percent of data users, you can find your internet speeds drop up to 99 percent. Meaning, one day web pages could only take one second to load, the next day and for the remainder of your billing period after throttling it could take two or more minutes. Although AT&T has stopped signing up people to these types of unlimited plans in 2010, many who signed up beforehand are grandfathered in. If the trigger is set, many users complain that they are pushed toward one of the tiered data plans which could mean more money for over usage fees for high data users. Also, once AT&T has triggered your phone to be throttled, it is known to remain that way for the remainder of the billing cycle.
• Verizon Wireless also throttles users on its discontinued unlimited data plans if they reach a 2GB threshold as stated on its website. Unlike its competitors, Verizon states they only throttle usage if you happen to be on a congested cellphone tower. Once you move to one with less congestion, your speeds are restored.
• T-Mobile will also slow data speeds down once you reach an agreed upon limit. According to their website, T-Mobile has the right to slow data speeds once you reach a 2GB barrier.
• Sprint is a carrier that currently states that it does not throttle and yet still carry unlimited plans. The underlining truth is, if you are using too much data, you can still be “warned”, and even terminated if you are considered a repeat offender of passing specific data limits.
Carriers are stating that with so many data users on their networks, they can only have people use a certain amount of usage at one time. This sounds good on the surface, but also understand that smartphone carriers are making an enormous amount of money since the introduction of smartphone technology. Many users have ditched their traditional home phones and use smartphones as an all in one phone and computer device. Refusing to invest in equipment and technology to make networks more accessible may increase bottom line profits, but at the cost of the current consumer. As more smartphone data users come aboard, service will eventually suffer for all users without upgrades to capacity.
No Contract Smartphones
No Contract Smartphones depend on the networks of big 4 main cellular carriers. But, there is a big difference. Until the network capacity issue is sorted out, users of no contract smartphones have the option to “fire” or “hire” a network without having to pay additional contract fees or without having to wait out a contract. If you are like most, this is a huge advantage financially for the average consumer. On the surface, reducing the speed of “abusive users” of data on data networks make sense to some. Of course, that is until you have been labeled a heavy user and fall victim to this practice.