Friday, January 27, 2012

Rising Data Usage On Our Smartphones And Tablets May Cost Us More

We are being encouraged to use more data on our mobile devices. We can stream videos, listen to music, download and upload photos, and of course read emails. We are enticed with more cloud access to hold and share our data. And with the iPhone 4S, every time we chat with Siri, we are consuming more and more data. It is no longer a little taste of the data stream, it is complete hunger. But how and where we consume is key.

Wireless phone companies are encouraging us to use WIFI to remain connected. A 3G or 4G experience has limits and too much usage on their dime will result in higher monthly bills. Unlimited data plans may become a thing of the past as the infrastructure to support these streams are not large enough to handle the ever increasing sizes of data consumption. Can't handle it on the network, find a WIFI hot spot. Except the owners of these WIFI streams have limits too. Too many people on the stream will significantly affect the speed.

This problem will only continue to get worse. More content is being put into the web and these files are getting larger and larger. More people are getting smartphones and tablets, and utilizing data and WIFI to enhance their functionality. And the rise of connected TVs will only put more stress on an over-burdened network.

Both 3G/4G and WIFI will be stretched. The phone company will put limits on usage and charge more to those that exceed their monthly plan; cable companies want to convert their broadband plans from unlimited to usage to capitalize on this same growing appetite for web data. And the consumer will ultimately find themselves paying more to be connected.

Much needs to happen. More efficient bundling to reduce the size of streams and more capital expenditure infrastructure. We like our mobile experience and we want more. More content to consume, faster speeds, complete connectivity; but also at a manageable cost. And like it or not, we have tasted this "drug" and we like it; costs will unfortunately rise to remain "connected".

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