I just saw this statement, and it talks about exactly what my concern is:
Wireless providers--especially AT&T and Verizon--are trying very hard to make sure users pay for every byte of data transferred, on every single device. Mobile data consumption is exploding and the wireless providers see dollar signs and an opportunity to cash in. Services like the mobile broadband offerings from Clearwire and Virgin Mobile, however, enable users to break free from the wireless provider shackles.
You see, from the consumer's perspective, this feels like robbery. And, of course, we are powerless to say or do anything about it. It's brilliant for ATT, Verizon, etc. I hate it so much. Ideally, I'd like to pay for just the bandwidth that I use, just like an electrical or water bill. Why do I have to commit to a period of time or pay a set amount per month? Most people don't use nearly all of their allotted bandwidth, and the companies know this (heck, most people can't even figure out HOW to calculate bandwidth; also just like electricity bills...99% of people have NO idea what a kWh is, but at least they only pay for the amount they use...same with bandwidth...megabits, megabytes, what??). Anyway, even more ideally
, I'd like there to be an option for heavy users who want unlimited bandwidth, but I understand that those kinds of policies can be abused easily. Still, I'd like the option to just pay for what I use.
And that's the core of my problem with the ISP's and cellular service companies. I think it's an awful business model, and it's one of the biggest right now. It represents so much (microcosmically, yes I made that up) of what is wrong with the US economy. Once you are in a position of power, the idea seems to be to rake in as much money as possible through policies, and by NOT doing any real work or adding value to any product or service. Just continually tweak policies to bring in more and more money. That seems to be the only real legwork happening.
My same questions from before linger on:
Why should phone models have any tie to carriers?
Why do carriers commit you to multi-year contracts?
Why are there no unlimited plans?
Why are there such ridiculous charges for going over?
Why do the companies care how many devices I'm using, as opposed to the amount of data I'm using? What the heck is it to them other than an excuse to get more free money? It's not like I'm sitting there simultaneously using a phone in each hand and a tablet on my lap!
With the majority of people not even coming close to using their allotted bandwidth, why do the companies complain about bandwidth being saturated? Is that truth, or just an excuse to charge us more?
Why are there ridiculous cancelling penalties and fees? On the other hand, why is it so ridiculously easy to add a plan?
These are huge companies. Their control is practically monopolistic. Customers are at the mercy of cell phone companies for any policy. Every iphone user is being charged $50-100 a month to use their freaking phone. That's not cheap money for most people, yet collecting it is as easy as pie for these already enormous companies.
This cell phone/data/ISP industry is on the path to reform, the bad kind of path. The same kind of path the mortgage industry went through. The same kind of path our education system is currently in. It's far too much money for most people with very little value in the process. This is not cheap stuff.
I've stayed away from data plans all this time because I just hate this business model. But they make it really hard. At most, some people text me or me to them, and now I have a small texting service, but before that it would be $.1-.2 per text (out of control charges). You see? They almost are forcing you to get a data plan because if you text 1000 times a month, you might as well just get a full data plan. But it's all to lock you into this machine that just collects a ton of your money.
Furthermore, (sheesh), because all of this is happening, it prevents other companies from offering rival products or services that want to fill in this void (even though it's intentional). Let's say a company wanted to offer data service and charge you only on what you use. The barriers to entry would be too much to get off the ground. Same goes for most small to medium business ideas that would potentially offer US, the actual low/middle class people, really useful services, with great customer service, etc. So this is why we're all pissed off about Wall Street, all this class warfare, mortgages, etc. We're just stuck with all these shitty things that we are powerless to change. A lot of us are stewing with good ideas, and no outlet. Time goes on, we need to scratch by with our daily jobs. Opportunities for progress and innovation are almost completely stifled. Any opportunity for success would just about require us to cave in to the "dark side" and rely on leveraging or other useless gimmicks rather than on true innovation and creativity.
Argh! Is it any different than before? It feels like it, but what do I know? Maybe true opportunity and success was always like this, even in America. That's what I want to say. But it doesn't feel like it. It sure feels like these are unique times and past, historical wisdom just doesn't apply to right now. I've heard enough of the old-school people compare today's situation with their experiences, and as much as they try to equate the two, it doesn't hit home to me. Things are different now.