Thursday, September 01, 2016

"Unlimited data plans" for wireless have some drawbacks, especially for travel hotspot heavy use


Sprint and T-Mobile have started offering plans that claim to offer unlimited data.
But many plans slow down speed or reduce video quality after certain threshholds are met.  And some plans will limit data quality when devices are tethered as hot spots rather than used directly on phones.

Curiously, some plans offer better deals if the users engage them every day rather than sporadically.
This feature would be problematic for me.  I tether wireless hotspots when a main carrier goes down (as after a storm), or when traveling (as motel free wireless is often less reliable and less secure).  On a trip last week, I actually forget to take the Ellipsis hotspot (it’s hard to remember everything when rushing out the door with a deadline) but I did take the iPad and it worked fine, although it’s a little slower than the newer Ellipsis.

Ryan Knutson and Thomas Gryta have a detailed story in the Wall Street Journal Aug 30 (paywall) here.

Drew FitzGerald has a similar article, “5 things to know” about these plans, with discussion of throlling.

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