If you live in a well developed area with a lot of cell phone towers and competition among carriers for new iPhone customers – like, say, Orange County, Calif. – it doesn't make as much sense to be judged compared to your neighbors.
What if everyone in the neighborhood is boring or tech-aversive enough that they're all using smart-ish phones, or never do more than a little texting or MMSing a photo or two of the grandchildren?
If they all use 1.5GB/month and you're still well below the 3GB/month that's the bottom level of data usage under AT&T's tiered plan, you're still going to be the neighborhood data hog and you're still going to get throttled.
And throttling turns a useful, even pleasant tool for work and play into a brick that's frustrating to use and almost useless to carry.
On Trang's iPhone, which he relies on for directions, news and information every day, the throttle kicks in two weeks into the month; maps won't appear, web pages won't load and video is out of the question.
"It basically makes my phone useless," he told the AP.
Carriers caught a lot of flak for ending unlimited data plans, but a lot of customers also defended tiered pricing because of the vast difference in use patterns between smartphones and smartish phones.
The standard response…is that carriers are just being greedy, won't improve their networks, blah blah blah.
OK, so put yourself in their shoes. Come up with a 5-year network hardware expansion plan that can compensate for unrestricted exponential growth. Let that sink in for a minute. – Slashdot user ultramk, June 21, 2011.
And they're right. No vendor can afford unlimited increases in usage without buildouts that increase costs and have to increase prices.
(Forget for a moment that Verizon had to know what the effect would be on its network and must have planned from the beginning to end the unlimited data plan even while it was working hard to sell iPhones and Verizon contracts to new customers based partly on a promise of unlimited use. That's a different level of hypocrisy to be dissected in a different blog, unless Verizon's consistently market-leading example of how to be a corporation and a weasel simultaneously gets boring by then.)
Telling customers you'll punish only really excessive data users and then putting ordinary users in your crosshairs without telling them the criteria have changed is flatly dishonest.
It ruins the performance of the device AT&T sold its customers and it violates the promises AT&T made that customers would be able to continue using the network the way they always had without penalty