13 Comments

Summary:

Will consumer adoption of unlimited mobile plans cause your call quality to suck? ABI Research seems to think so. In a report released today, ABI Research says unlimited plans can lead to more phone calls, more data use and worst of all, more YouTube-related video streaming. […]

Will consumer adoption of unlimited mobile plans cause your call quality to suck? ABI Research seems to think so. In a report released today, ABI Research says unlimited plans can lead to more phone calls, more data use and worst of all, more YouTube-related video streaming. And that leads to more of a burden on wireless networks and backhaul. Since Sprint’s unlimited plan includes 3G data as well as voice, it may be the canary in the coal mine for other carriers waiting to see what unlimited means for their networks.

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  1. Curtis Carmack Tuesday, April 8, 2008

    The comment on Sprint does not make much sense. Almost all of Sprint’s data plans for phones have always been unlimited. I don’t see how rolling that into the voice package is going to lead to any usage beyond what Sprint sees now. Sprint’s data offering structure is so different from that of the other carriers that I don’t believe it will provide any insight at all for them. If anything, Sprint is likely to come off much better for the comparison. One man’s opinion (and I am most certainly NOT a Sprint fanboy) YMMV.

  2. What they are saying about Sprint is now that they are giving away unlimited everything for 100 bux, more people are likely to go for that plan and due to that increase of overall usage, the network will get bogged down. Yes, they have unlimited plans now (as do most carriers) but didnt until recently have that for a low fee. Thus more people will join and cause in higher network usage thus causing an issue for everyone else. Think of it like cable DSL where the more people are on your node, the less speed and performance you get.

  3. Anonymous Coward Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    Curtis’s comment is on point. Sprint has been offering unlimited data in plans starting at $30/mo for almost two years now. Just about anyone who could read a forum post could get one of these plans.

    The difference is that along with unlimited data, $99 now gets you unlimited voice instead of 2500 minutes, but since there are only ~15,500 minutes that could be billable in a month (fewer if you exempt mobile-to-mobile calls) I don’t think users will be able to abuse unlimited voice to the point where it collapses the network.

    If anything, Sprint should avoid a host of customer service calls related to billing that have been it’s achilles’ heel in the past.

  4. Vid-Biz: Fyreball, Mobile, Lip Dub « NewTeeVee Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    [...] YouTube a Headache for Unlimited Mobile Plans? All-you-can-watch video could tax mobile data networks. (GigaOM) [...]

  5. Curtis Carmack Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    Sprint’s data plans in fact can be much lower than $30. In many grandfathered plans it’s a free add on, or costs $10. Plans at this level have been available at least since 2002 when I first signed on for it. Based on Sprint’s ARPU, I think promotion of the $99 plan may actually increase ARPU, while not putting a lot of additional strain on the data network. I guess we’ll see over the next few quarters.

  6. Stacey Higginbotham Wednesday, April 9, 2008

    Curtis, you are right, but what about the people who see $99 unlimited plan and have never really bothered with data before? I have no idea how many people would fall into that camp. I suppose we should also add the increase in smart phones to the calculation. That, more than unlimited plans will drive data use.

  7. This is total BS. 3g networks are all running at 20-25% capacity (except in some high traffic areas like airports, etc). On the voice side its probably 70%. Unlimited will have some impact, but most of the adds has to be on the backhaul side and some “carriers” . The big issues here is backhaul esp since in the US its all T1 based and not very scalable..There are sites with 12+ T1s..Totally kills the cost base…

  8. Gee, didn’t see anyone jump and say that when VZ deployed FIOS, all that “extra” bandwidth would be sucked up by late night porn watchers, streaming video freaks or gammers hogging the system. Nope.. didn’t see a thing.. Didn’t see or hear of any issues when wireline providers started selling “unlimited” local/ld calling. If I was gigaom, I would go back to ABI and ask for a refund on the doom and gloom report they tried to pass off as fact.

  9. The Hidden Cost Of Unlimited Plans – GigaOM Friday, April 11, 2008

    [...] Malik, Friday, April 11, 2008 at 12:05 AM PT Comments (0) To say that unlimited wireless plans lead to increased usage of voice minutes and data is obvious, our friends at Techdirt remind us. They argue that the real [...]

  10. gps program » Blog Archive » Stating The Obvious: Unlimted Data Plans Increase Usage Friday, April 11, 2008

    [...] has put out a report supposedly warning all these wireless firms hyping up “unlimited” plans that unlimited plans tend to increase usage. You think? Really? One would have hoped, given the long history of unlimited usage plans in other [...]

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