New York - Jun 21, 2011 - According to an article in CNN/Money, Verizon will soon join AT&T and T-Mobile in eliminating its unlimited data plans for mobile phone users. Current users will not be effected, but those who sign with Verizon after July 2011 will be offered only tiered plans, the cost of which will increase as data usage increases. More details are coming next month. Once the changes take effect, Sprint will be the only remaining major carrier offering unlimited data plans for mobile users.
Currently, Verizon's unlimited data plan costs $30 per month. AT&T charges users $15 per month for 200MB of data; or alternatively, $25 for 2GB of data, plus an additional $10 for each gigabyte in excess of that. T-Mobile charges $10 per month for 2GB, $20 for 5GB and $50 for 10GB.
So could this have a negative impact on streaming audio content? Perhaps not, if that is all a user ever did. For example, if you listened to three hours per day of a 64kb/s data stream, you would use 86.4MB per day; after 30 days you would have used 2.592GB, putting you over the AT&T 2GB limit and thus costing you $35. For T-Mobile users, you would pay $20. However, once you start streaming video content, all bets are off. According to this same CNN/Money article, 2GB would get you no more than 12 hours of streaming video from Netflix (as an example).
I would assert when faced with this bill every month, many users will, by necessity, limit their streaming content. Obviously some are not going to care, but many are. So, even though it is important for us as content providers to allow every means possible for users to get our content, we also need to cultivate and maintain those means of transmission that we control (AM, FM and HD Radio facilities) so that no matter what, listeners can still get us for free, should they so desire.