If Per Byte Pricing Is 'Only Fair' Why Have Telcos Ditched It For Mobile Data Plans?

from the hypocrisy-in-action dept

For the past couple of years, telcos and cable companies have been pushing for metered broadband, usually with the bogus claim that "it's not fair" for a light user to be subsidizing a heavy user. This is a neat little disingenuous trick that implies "light users" would see their bills decrease under metered billing plans. However, the same telcos pushing for metered broadband on connections are the same telcos who have wireless operators as well... and for mobile users, they're doing away with the metered billing option at the lower end, forcing everyone into a much higher priced all-you-can-eat model. Oops. Metered billing has nothing to do with fairness. It's an attempt by telcos to squeeze more money out of customers in a market where they often have little in the way of competitive options. Because, as we've seen, when there's real competition, it's a lot more difficult for providers to offer such plans.

Filed Under: metered billing, metered broadband, telcos


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Oct 2009 @ 9:25pm

    Welcome to another Techdirt special: The apples and oranges show.

    Apples: metered bandwidth. A product of the era in which the home internet was established, when a T1 connection could cost like a small car each month. Technology to move more data at a reasonable cost wasn't around. As that technology has come, so has heightened demand, making it an attractive business proposition to maintain caps. The caps in place are not a major issue for the vast majority of internet users. Oh yeah, there is that thing about wiring and physical installation, etc.

    Oranges: 3G, 3.5G, etc. Started out as a higher speed service, and the rates charged are in keeping with the natural of the game. Outside of the very few people tethering through their phones, most phone users are checking the weather, surfing pr0n, and reading blogs. The best part? The consumers pay for the phones, so the wireless companies are not forced to run a whole bunch of wire. Bandwidth usage is limited not by the rate plan, but rather by the available connectivity.

    Basically, home / wired service has to meet certain speed requirements. If you have a 5mbps connection, people will go to speedtest and check it. Your wireless? No speed promises (up to 7 mpbs!), you get what you get.

    In the end, reasonable bandwidth caps are still a good solution for the vast majority of internet users. The only ones complaining aren't typical users.

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