Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ending of flat rate era? -June 2nd

By Andrew Till
Are we seeing the end of flat rate data or a More balanced Approach to Network Congestion?

Recently AT&T announced that it was ending it’s flat rate data plan in North America. No longer will consumer be able to user mobile internet services without concern for their month end bill. As of 7th June AT&T will offer 2 new pricing schemes to replace the flat rate data plan with $15 for 200MB and $30 for 2GBs.

Could this signal a trend away from flat rate data plans with a number of global operators adding more stringent Fair usage policies to their tariff offerings.
However it’s not all bad news as AT&T also recently announced free public WiFi access in New York in what maybe the start of a broader trend.
With new tablet devices like the iPad from Apple and Dell’s Streak device launching around the world this maybe a glimpse of the future with operators offering combined cellular and WiFi packages designed to address the issue of network congestion on the traditional mobile networks. This has been driven by the growth of smartphones but with many new device formats now also launching this issue is no longer one that can be ignored.

It’s going to be interesting to see if other operators follow AT&Ts lead and if this brings in a new age of connectivity management for mobile users. After all free WiFi services provided in conjunction with cellular data services will solve many users issues as trying to surf the internet on a congested HSDPA network is not a lot of fun.

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