The Death of Unlimited Data and/or Subsidized Plans: Tell Us What You Think

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    11,016
    Likes Received:
    3,979
    Trophy Points:
    823
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Ratings:
    +4,254
    [​IMG]

    Sprint's CEO, Marcelo Claure, recently made comments that even though Sprint currently uses unlimited data plans as as a marketing tool to gain an edge over rival carriers, it will eventually stop offering unlimited data plans at some point in the future. This echoed the previous Sprint CEO's (Dan Hesse) position, and mirrors that of the other US cellular carriers' point of view. It's common knowledge that Verizon and AT&T want to get rid of unlimited data plans, and have actively worked to do so.

    To go along with that, as we recently discussed in a different thread (here), the major US carriers also make it clear they want to get rid of cell phone subsidies (defined as only paying a partial payment for a phone but requiring a two-year contract) altogether as well. T-Mobile basically already did it, and nearly all of the others have made moves towards getting rid of subsidies (like Verizon's Edge program).

    Eventually, if the carriers do get rid of both subsidies and unlimited data plans, the mobile landscape in the US will be quite a bit different. Here at HQ, we wondered what our members' perspectives on these subjects might be, so we thought it would be a cool idea to simply ask you folks a bunch of questions that might spark some interesting conversations. Here are a slew of them... feel free to answer all of them, or just cherry pick the ones that interest you. Either way, we want to hear what you guys think of the state of the industry and what it might be like in the future.

    Here are several questions regarding Unlimited Data Plans (feel free to add any others you can think of to the discussion):
    • How long do you think it will be before all the major US carriers get rid of unlimited data plans?
    • Which carrier will get rid of all of their unlimited data plans first?
    • How will they go about eliminating unlimited data plans?
    • Would you leave your current carrier if they chose to no longer honor your grandfathered unlimited data plan?
    • If so, which carrier would you consider switching to?
    Here are several questions regarding carrier subsidies (some of the same questions from above apply here):
    • How long do you think it will take before the next major US carrier eliminates subsidies?
    • Which carrier will be the next to do so?
    • What will they need to do to make getting rid of subsidies a viable option?
    • Would you try out a different carrier if their program offered a significant value?

     
  2. gadgetrants

    gadgetrants Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,287
    Likes Received:
    197
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +228
    Current Phone Model:
    Google Pixel
    Kind of a self-interested comment but...going back to whenever Verizon first offered unlimited plans (2009?), both my wife and I had them. Since her actual usage is less than 1GB a month, and because I thought the end of unlimited might be near, November 2013 I switched her over to a highly-secret 6GB/month plan. No charges involved, I just asked and they did it -- in fact I did it at Best Buy but actually it was a guy at a Verizon store who told me to ask for it.

    So it's been more than a year, and here come the death knells of unlimited again. I've been thinking of calling Verizon and basically saying: I'll move myself off unlimited IF you offer both me and my data-starved teen son the same 6GB plans. I suspect they'll balk, but that's my goal.

    More germane to the thread: I hate to call a reverse-chicken-little, but...

    2010: Verizon Signals the End of the Unlimited Data Plan WIRED
    2011: Verizon to Kill Unlimited Data Plans in July PCWorld
    2012: Verizon to kill unlimited data plans for existing subscribers - CNET
    2013: Rumor Verizon planning To End All Unlimited Data Plans By End Of 2014 Android Forum at DroidForums.net
    2014: Verizon continues trying to rid themselves of all customers with unlimited data plans - Android Authority

    -Matt
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. pc747

    pc747 Administrator
    Staff Member Rescue Squad

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    24,311
    Likes Received:
    5,333
    Trophy Points:
    1,123
    Ratings:
    +5,921
    It was a matter of time. To be honest unlimited data was dead to me a long time ago. I can understand the argument for both sides I have been good with being on a tier data plan. Carriers like At&t have their double data deals around Christmas so if you a patient you can turn 5 gigs into 10 gigs or 10 gigs into 20 gigs without a spike in your bill.

    As far as subsidized devices, I am cool with that as long as they now are willing to allow me to remove their bloatware off of my phone. I also want to see companies adopt more of the international or nexus 6 deal where I buy my phone and choose which carrier sim I want to put in my device.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    11,016
    Likes Received:
    3,979
    Trophy Points:
    823
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Ratings:
    +4,254
    To be clear... my thread isn't meant to suggest that Unlimited Data and subsidies are going away immediately (or even very soon), but it does appear that the executive forces within the carriers are moving that direction. It might take years before it completely happens... of course that's also why I asked that question to begin with above. I'm curious to find out when you guys think it will finally happen.
     
    #4 dgstorm, Jun 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
    • Like Like x 2
  5. shockracer

    shockracer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    153
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Northern, CO
    Ratings:
    +184
    Guess it's a common thing done once a carrier actually gains enough customers. T-Mobile is next inline.
     
  6. Ollie

    Ollie Droid Does

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    3,442
    Likes Received:
    2,103
    Trophy Points:
    1,468
    Location:
    South Coast
    Ratings:
    +2,483
    Current Phone Model:
    Note Edge - iPhone 6 Plus
    Unlimited data is expected to disappear. Subsidizing phones are not. I am not versed in the Next, Jump, Leap, Skip plans to comment on them. I pay cash for my phones to avoid contracts. Most people can't afford that.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. pc747

    pc747 Administrator
    Staff Member Rescue Squad

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2009
    Messages:
    24,311
    Likes Received:
    5,333
    Trophy Points:
    1,123
    Ratings:
    +5,921
    Those are basically the evolution of the contract (shell game). They take the cost of the device and break it down into 24 month payments.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. gadgetrants

    gadgetrants Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,287
    Likes Received:
    197
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +228
    Current Phone Model:
    Google Pixel
    Ah, that's a shame! I thought my post was so clever...and you guys just jumped/leapt/skipped right past it. :(

    -Matt
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  9. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey Premium Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2012
    Messages:
    6,686
    Likes Received:
    3,548
    Trophy Points:
    1,578
    Location:
    Thailand
    Ratings:
    +4,036
    Current Phone Model:
    iPhone 7 Plus JB
    We do not have subsidized plans here in Thailand, but do have unlimited data plans. Over a year ago I did say subsidies will eventually go away as subsidies cost the carriers million each year.. I didn't expect unlimited data too go away as well.

    Most users do not use a ton of data. Since the data infrastructure is in place is sounds as if the carriers are just penalizing those who do use more than average.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. kodiak799

    kodiak799 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    Messages:
    5,993
    Likes Received:
    768
    Trophy Points:
    258
    Ratings:
    +934
    VZW has always had plenty of tricks up their sleeve to entice people to new plans, but to my knowledge they've rarely (if ever) not continued to honor grandfathered plans. I'd be surprised if they even have 2M people left on unlimited - if they can't upsell those people, many will leave so I don't see VZW booting them out.

    Since I'm unlimited, the subsidy is already dead to me. I frequently think about changing, to be honest. It's only when I travel (which I do frequently for work), where I can chew up 10-20 gigs in a month...but it wouldn't be hard for me to change my habits to adapt. Plus, unlimited voice would be nice. Also, I'm looking to add a smartwatch and tablet, so an 8-10gig plan for what I'm paying now would be tough to pass up.
     
  11. FoxKat

    FoxKat Premium Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    14,806
    Likes Received:
    4,751
    Trophy Points:
    838
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Ratings:
    +5,290
    Current Phone Model:
    Droid Turbo 2 & Galaxy S7
    I'm not necessarily going to answer any of the questions above, but I want to give some food for thought here. When I signed up for my pricing plan, similar to the one that @gadgetrants mentioned, the Nationwide Calling plan, at that time data consumption was relatively low compared to today with a typical cell phone. There was no 4G LTE, even 3G service was spotty in areas, and of course the rate of data communication even in the best case scenarios on 3G was far less than what's capable now in even a relatively average 4G LTE carrier area.

    So at that time, it made sense to offer unlimited data because the pipeline and the throughput of both the system and equipment and phones was so low that consumption of data was going to be limited simply by the restrictions of the equipment itself.

    The plan was based upon buying a certain number of minutes allotment for phone calls in a month, shared among all lines in the Family Plan and in order to obtain data they give you unlimited access to the data with the calling plan for a regular monthly fee over and above. Of course back then paying for your phone time was common. Fast forward to today. We now have pricing plans to provide free nationwide calling and free texting, but we're now on tiers for data pricing.

    Some may wonder why so let me give you this explanation. There are 60 minutes in each hour of the day and there are 24 hours in a day, and the average month is 30 days long so you have a limited number of minutes in which you could be involved in phone calls in any average month. 60*24*30=43,200 minutes.

    Now it's unrealistic to think that anyone could make phone calls totaling 43,200 minutes in a month, but its not unrealistic however to think that a large family of six or more, especially with several teenagers could amass that number of minutes of calling on a shared phone minutes pricing plan. In fact they could go over that number. Realistically speaking though they'll probably never see anything close to that.

    So we can say that from a pricing plan standpoint, the number of minutes that can be billed by carrier is technically finite for each phone number to that 43,200 minutes per month. however, the amount of data that can be consumed in any month is virtually unlimited, infinite if you allow me to say. Its only limited by the download speed, the length of time that you have quality data service, and the rate of aggressiveness at which you download or stream video, audio, or other forms of data.

    So from a pricing and profitability standpoint, the potential for far greater revenue exists in pricing the cost per gigabyte used rather than the cost per minute of phone conversation used.

    This is the sole impetus for moving to tiered data pricing plans and eliminating the unlimited data pricing plans that I and others like me still happen to be grandfathered into.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
  12. mountainbikermark

    mountainbikermark Super Moderator
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    7,455
    Likes Received:
    3,886
    Trophy Points:
    1,563
    Ratings:
    +4,348
    Nah. Over here it's supply and demand. Folks demand newer, faster, shinier, the carriers supply it with strings attached. Apple did away with the removable storage and battery and few even blinked. Verizon started getting rid of unlimited data and even fewer than that blinked. They were too giddy that the iPhone wasn't an AT&T exclusive anymore.
    It has not so much about heavy users as it or because that can. Until data became the newest cash cow it was text message rate plans . Not they're unlimited to get data plans added on to phones.
    Subsidy elimination has been in the works here for about a decade but it was thought the public wasn't ready for Rent a Center phones. T-Mobile proved the doubters wrong and everybody else was right in there to get in on the cash cow of not subsidizing phones anymore. Subsidies are going the way of the flip phone.

    Support Our Troops !!!
    <><
    Beast Mode 4