Sprint Realizing That Data Caps Turn Customers Off

from the about-time dept

Back when Sprint joined other mobile carriers in issuing a 5 GB limit on its EVDO connection, I was among those who noted that it was disappointing that the company sold me an "unlimited" service, and then changed the terms on me unilaterally. It also changed the way I used my EVDO card, making it significantly less useful and valuable for me. I don't want to be thinking about how much data I'm using (and it was especially difficult without a detailed system of tracking how much data you were using). I remember once, while traveling, I accidentally left the EVDO connection running over night, and got worried that Sprint might cut me off. It's just not worth it, and I've actually been thinking about dumping Sprint once my contract is up.

Apparently, I wasn't alone in thinking this and Sprint has noticed. With its new WiMax network, it has stayed away from talking about any caps, and has now admitted that the reaction to the EVDO caps is part of the reason why. They're afraid that, just as they're trying to convince people to use the WiMax network, they'll get scared off by caps. The problem, of course, is that these mobile broadband providers are fighting against themselves on these things. They want to convince the world that these networks are useful -- and to do that, you have to show all the cool things that you can do with them. But, if they haven't really invested enough in the networks, they can actually run into some congestion problems, and so they can't encourage you to use them too much. Hopefully, the investment into WiMax (or, potentially moving on to LTE) will mean that such congestion problems are mostly a thing of the past, and that it's not worth implementing caps.

That said, Sprint's admission of how people responded to the EVDO caps should be a clear warning to ISPs that keep trying to implement broadband caps or metered broadband. Doing so imposes additional costs that you might not have considered, such as the mental transaction costs your users face in determining if it's even worth using your network. Of course, ISPs should know this already. We already have a detailed case study in that AOL only really took off after it switched from hourly billing to an unlimited flat-rate. Why some ISPs want to go back to make their product less valuable is beyond me.

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  1. identicon
    No, 8 Jul 2011 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re:

    WTF. DATA is not that important that we have to negociate deals with strangers over their home internet. Why do you need your neighbors connection? GET YOUR OWN.
    OK OK OK ...
    thats like saying your a little baby, and your sitting next to another baby. Your momy gets you the toys when you want it [service provider] The same thing with the baby next to you. BUT you want the toy he has right now and you cant get it RIGHT now. So instead of your mother getting your own, you have your mom negociate with the other babys mom over the toy that his dad gave for the baby. The dad is the home internet provider, the moms are the service providers and the babys are you and your neighbor. EVERYONE is therioedicaly happy. But the world doesnt work that way. Point is Get Your Own. Data is not important enough if you need a system like this to get it everywhere. ITS not that internet providers lack the willingness to cooperate, its that its not a solution. Home internet providers have contracts, That state very very strictly, that you are not aloud to share the internet with anyone ourside of your household. The service they provide cannot be resold. If they find you giving your internet to your neighbors, they drop you.
    BUT MOST IMPORTANT. why do you need your neighrbors home connection?!? YOU should be using your own home connection, or better yet, your carrier, because thats what they are there for. Thats why your paying 30$ a month. IF you dont have coverage where you live, WHY THE FUCK DID YOU PICK THAT CARRIER. hotels let you access their wifi for a fee. thats very understandable and does not involve or conflict carriers. their wifi is busniess wifi,and has special contracts with service providers and it is allowed to be resold. other than that. what the fuck are you thinking?

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