Molly Wood at CNET:
AT&T announced this week that it will phase out unlimited data plans and start a metered approach, with tethering available for an extra cost. And although some elements of the new data plans will work for some customers, AT&T is moving in the opposite direction it should be going. I'm tired of multiple data plans, artificial caps, and arbitrary monthly usage charges. And I'm tired of paying the same companies multiple times for what is, essentially, the exact same service. That service? Data.
Between multiple cell phones, high-speed Internet connections, and even digital TV subscriptions, most households are now paying for data delivery at least three times over, and frequently paying the same provider twice. This is ridiculous, and it's time for some major consolidation. It's time for a universal data plan. I want to pay once (maybe twice) for data, I want that data to be unlimited, and I want to be able to use it in any fashion I choose.
[W]ith the FCC breathing down carriers' necks about tiered usage plans, it's only a matter of time before regulators catch wind of just how many times we're being charged for the exact same thing. Everyone's usage is going to start to increase, and this parsing and nickle-and-dime-ing and "plus" and "pro" plans is all just a smoke screen. And, frankly, a rip-off.
Carriers need to keep beefing up those networks and start rolling out universal data plans that are device-agnostic, include either unlimited data or realistic caps that encompass our growing data needs, and that charge you one time for network access, period. That's how we get to a true wireless broadband future--one where there's no such thing as a "data plan," there's just a network, and we're all on it.