What Really Killed AT&T's Unlimited Use Plan?

iPhone, Google Android phones, Windows 7 Mobile, SmartPhones, etc... More cellular data bandwidth is always better, right? If you can get an unlimited plan, that's better right? Maybe, if y

ou're willing to pay for it...and now, only if your wireless carrier offers it. AT&T, and others like Verizon, are starting to reign in the unlimited usage plans in favor of plans priced on bands of usage, giving the carriers the ability to capture additional revenues and reign in high data usage.

Whether it's fact or Internet folklore, we've all heard rumors that iPhone data usage on AT&T's wireless significantly exceeded plans or expectations. It's hard to know for sure but eliminating the unlimited usage plan for new accounts is a pretty good indication. I have to ask myself, what is it about the iPhone that's driving up bandwidth usage?

Looking at my own bandwidth usage, I'm frequently applying updates to iPhone apps. And the more iPhone apps, the more updates, which often coincides with releases to Apple's iPhone OS. Most apps are several megabytes and could easily be a significant portion of the bandwidth I use. The rest of the time I'm doing email, texting, maps and GPS, and some web surfing. There have only been a few instances where I purchase music through iTunes using my iPhone, causing a several megabyte download, though this could add up significantly if done frequently. And I rarely download or stream videos to my phone, though this happens quite frequently via NetFlix on the iPad at my house.

I suspect the answer to my original question is "all of the above". It's the multi-purpose nature of a smartphone device like the iPhone, Google Android and other devices. And the trend of using your smartphone, and now tablet such as the iPad, is to use it for more and more purposes, at home and at work, increasing bandwidth usage even more.

Just for the record, I didn't purchase a 3G enabled iPad, instead for personal use I opted for the Sprint 3G/4G Wi-Fi Hot Spot. 3G traffic is capped at 5GB but 4G traffic is unlimited usage. Not a bad way to go to get your laptop, iPad and smartphone (plus two other devices) all connected to the Internet at 4G speeds.

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