The cost of smartphones have held fairly steady despite their ever growing capabilities. Somewhat less stable has been the cost of wireless for subscribers. Some users may be ill prepared for what is coming.
For now the heaviest users grumble loudest about data costs while more modest users often seem perplexed how one could use so much wireless bandwidth.
Carriers want to wean consumers away from unlimited data subscriptions to tiered pricing. Some have already retired their unlimited options. The monthly cost for 2GB of data is $25 with AT&T and $30 with Verizon. That is enough data for most…for now.
But consider the rate which mobile technology is changing, making it easier and faster to churn through data.
Online map-sucking GPS apps, location check-ins, streaming media, and even games all chip away at that precious data allotment.
Screens have expanded to what was not so long ago considered tablet-sized. So we are tempted even more to consume content as we pinch and zoom our way through desktop oriented pages instead of the mobile optimized pages that emerged during the BlackBerry era.
Technology has made many tasks that were tethered to a desktop possible an a mobile. The future is bringing more wireless capability to our palms from mobile payments to smart home control.
LTE is delivering speeds that outperform many wire-based ISPs. Even HSPA+ is delivering impressive speed. With the speed of the fastest 4G networks, a user can burn through their monthly data allotment in well under in hour.
It is no question that we will be using more data and with current pricing structures users will need to pay for more wireless bandwidth or monitor their usage more closely.
Wi-Fi will become even more important. Could the demand effect free public Wi-Fi access? Many businesses provide a bandwidth campfire that some techno-squatters camp around for hours nursing a single cup of coffee...if that. Some have businesses have time restrictions already.
There is "super" Wi-Fi technology evolving with range of miles that could put carriers on their heels.
Carriers' pricing is based on demand and the willingness of subscribers to bear them. Are they prepared to pay more or will technology alter game?