ÜberTech


Ok data gluttons, who wants to buy my unlimited iPhone plan?

Ok data gluttons, who wants to buy my unlimited iPhone plan?

Summary: People are up in arms over AT&T no longer selling unlimited data plans for the iPhone and iPad. Not me. I want to sell mine to the highest bidder.

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Seriously, if I could figure out how to scrub my AT&T wireless account of all the personal deets that make identity thieves throw their evil heads back and go MWAHAHAHA, I would put my account on eBay without hesitation.

No one has beaten me to the punch. But someone will. Mark my words, a thriving black market for unlimited data plans will soon emerge.

Judging by the bellyaching after AT&T's announcement on June 2nd, there's certainly demand for it. Demand from guys like my colleague Barry. For the past several months, Barry has been counting the days until the iPhone 4 becomes available whereupon he will promptly switch back to AT&T. But without an all-he-can-download plan, groans Barry, switching might make his $400 monthly bill (how?) go even higher.

I've only owned my iPhone 3GS since April 6th (I was a longtime BlackBerry user who switched over because my employer's Bring Your Own Smartphone program was just too irresistible).

In two months, I've used just 1.06 GB of data, or 500 MB per month. I would love to trade my unlimited plan in exchange for AT&T's new $25/month 2 GB DataPro plan + $20/month tethering for my laptop.

eyes bigger than their stomachs.

Those complaining about AT&T dumping its unlimited iPhone data plan remind me of most of us at a buffet: eyes bigger than their stomachs.

It's the iPhone loyalists who are taking this move by AT&T most personally. I don't get why. The iPhone's been out for 3.5 years. DON'T YOU ALREADY OWN AN UNLIMITED CONTRACT GOOD FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?

In fact, AT&T's move will raise your tech cred. Your unlimited contract will provide undeniable proof that you were an iPhone early adopter, not some lame bandwagon fan.

Know those guys who say things like, "Yeah, U2's ok now, but I like their early stuff better. Like back in '84 when I saw them live in Belfast during their Under a Blood Red Sky tour..."

Soon, you'll get to assert your Alpha status with an iPhone version of that story. "One time, I racked up 120 GB in one month watching funny cat videos on YouTube, and my bill was still only $30! SUCKERS!"

Well, critics will retort, with these new plans, there's no way I could stream music via Pandora or Slacker without going over 2 GB. Actually, I turn on Pandora whenever I'm in the car, and I am only at 25% of that mark.

Using Pandora's regular 64 KB setting (equivalent to FM stereo), I could stream Pandora for 72 hours a month without going over 2 GB.

That's enough to last me through a three-and-half-hour commute. Besides my cousin-in-law Manny, I don't know too many people unlucky to suffer a similar daily odyssey (his commute, it should be noted, is via Wi-Fi-enabled Bay Area public transportation, too, so he wouldn't have any problems with that 3G data cap).

It's easy to lose perspective how much data two gigabytes is. But a poll at Gizmodo shows that about 80% of iPhone owners use less than 2 GB a month. If any demographic would be skewed towards the types of early adopters who overuse their iPhone, it would be Giz readers.

Another survey by Validas found that almost 90% of iPhone users were under 500 MB, just like me.

I'll grant that a 2 GB cap might put a crimp on iPad, its larger size making it a perfect video streaming device. But for the iPhone, who cares about the millions of GB of cat videos I've theoretically left go to waste, unwatched, on my unlimited data plan? I certainly don't, and neither do between 80% and 90% of us.

I may end up having plenty of competition in auctioning off my unlimited data plan after all...

Topics: ÜberTech, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, AT&T

Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

I have tracked technology for more than 15 years, as an award-winning journalist and now as in-house thought leader on the mobile enterprise for SAP. Follow me here at ÜberMobile as well as my even less-filtered musings on Twitter @ericylai

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