Why It's Time For Carriers To Re-Evaluate Data Pricing

A few days back, Virgin Radio made news by offering the ability to stream Virgin Radio to any 3G phone. They’re not charging for it, which is still an oddity in the mobile data world. It makes sense, though, because their business is advertising. If they get more people listening — especially around the world, they can sell more advertising. However, as Russell Buckley points out, this points out some of the problems with data plans offered by various carriers. Based on his estimates, someone paying a per-byte fee at one carrier would have to pay $10,000 per hour to listen to Virgin radio. Seems a bit extreme. While that’s just one carrier’s plan, it does show some of the problems with per byte pricing. First, it discourages use of certain types of apps. Second, it’s hard for people to realize how much they’re using — so they could rack up quite a bill without realizing it. While the carriers do want to make sure they’re not overwhelmed by users and maxed out on capacity, it still seems a little silly when you realize just how much some people might get charged under existing plans.

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