So AT&T has killed off the unlimited bandwidth plan for new subscribers. TUAW has a nice summary of the changes. While it’s usually safe to assume the most evil of intentions when it comes to AT&T, and the bitchier strata of the blogosphere are wringing the tears out of their boxer briefs, the net net of it isn’t horrible.
Except for the $20 tethering tax – on data that’s capped – is a given. I chalk this up to the singularity of ignorance that is AT&T.
On a more granular level, there are 2 related points that I’d like to call bullshit on:
-The timing of AT&T’s message sucks. They announce a network partnership with Apple for a device that’s bound to make the iPhone’s data consumption look like grandpa’s urine stream. But lo and behold, the data’s still unlimited – and you can turn it on and shut it off any month you want! Man, that’s groundbreaking. Well, now it’s more like: enjoy the month of unlimited data, jagoffs. After June 7, if you’re not already enrolled in the $30 monthly unlimited data plan – and keep it in perpetuity – your data options are capped at 2GB a month. This cuts a lot of the “gee, that was pretty cool of them” factor out of the opt-in/out feature and replaces it with more of a “wow, you guys are fucking dickheads” feel. Which brings me to the related point…
-I know from my iPhone’s use – and reading about a lot of other people’s use – that a 2GB cap won’t be a problem. However, when Jason Snell at Macworld (a staff writer, not one of the asshats from PC World) did his original review of the 3G iPad, the longevity of AT&T’s 250Mb plan was not encouraging:
Streaming video, in particular, is hugely intensive: using the Netflix application can easily rack up in excess of 100MB in an hour. One feature-length movie can put you within spitting distance of your bandwidth cap.
So that’s 20 hours of streaming video before you break your cap, assuming no other 3G use. What wasn’t a concern for the iPhone may well be a concern for the iPad.
So yea, if you discount the disingenuous introduction of the opt in/out “feature” and if you don’t mind having your consumption capped at what may not be a reasonable ceiling, you might end up saving $5 a month on your cellphone bill.