Do you care about the data speeds you get on your phone?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| Published: May 26, 2012


Earlier today, I asked you whether or not if you had purchased, or planned on purchasing a 4G-enabled device. I focused on Verizon’s network, mentioning off-hand Sprint’s and AT&T’s networks here in my area, as while the wireless carrier is doing a good job of expanding their advanced network, it isn’t everywhere quite yet. That lead to the question: is 4G just a bonus feature, or a core element you look for in a phone, even if you don’t live in a 4G covered area? But, there’s another part to that I think has to be brought to the fore, and that has to deal with speeds.

Speeds and your monthly data allowance, and how it’s all connected.

No, I’m not going to get into some twisted comparison between speeds offered by the major networks here in the United States. There’s no end to that debate, and it will probably always never just boil down to speeds, anyway. But, for those of you out there who talk about how fast one network is over another, I have to ask: why do you care?

I ask this, because our unlimited data days are coming to an end. Verizon is issuing a new plan that will push new customers towards new data plans, with definitive caps. AT&T has already done away with unlimited data. Both Sprint and T-Mobile USA still have unlimited data, but let’s be honest here, how long will that last?

So, I’ll ask again. Why do you care about how fast your phone is? I will admit that I’m asking this with a twinge of jealousy in there, because as I’ve made perfectly clear by now, I don’t have access to 4G LTE-connectivity. I’ve got 3G with Verizon and Sprint, and EDGE with AT&T and T-Mobile. So, yes, I’m probably jealous a little bit.

Acceptance is the first step.

In all seriousness, though, I can’t quite figure out why it matters so much. Without unlimited data, it’s not like you’ll be able to do everything you want on your phone with just your data connection all month long. That is, unless you pay an arm-and-a-leg to get a large amount of a monthly allotment, somewhere around the 10GB mark. If you have the ability, or desire, to pay that much for that much data, then this conversation is probably not for you.

What about those who don’t want to pay that much for data, or can only afford so much a month? I understand that by just checking your favorite social networks, and emails and Web pages, that you won’t rack up too many megabytes over the long run, but that changes when you start watching videos (which everyone does in those awesome promotional videos), streaming music, or anything similar to that.

There are always ways to rack up the data, and when there’s an immovable roof there, making sure you don’t pass a certain point, why are you trying to get their faster?

It doesn’t help that our applications are getting bigger, more advanced, and therefore bigger in size. That’s probably a debate for another article.

I think boasting 4G speeds to people is awesome. Right now, turning on 4G-connectivity on any phone I’ve ever used it on just kills the battery, and is not really noticeable in the general use of it. Yes, Facebook loads faster. Is that really such a big deal? Yes, you can download an app super quick. Hooray!

I think 4G’s a bonus feature, to be honest. Yes, Verizon is putting it at the core of its business plan, and that makes sense considering the larges wireless network in the United States plans on having almost all of its network covered in the next-stage of data connectivity at some point in the future. 3G replaced by 4G. That’s great. And when that happens, it will make more sense to me.

Right now, though, I’m not necessarily running out to pick up a 4G phone, mostly because 3G-connectivity works well enough for when I need it, for the short amount of time I usually do. For every other moment, there’s a WiFi connection I can probably connect to.

What about you? Are you someone who absolutely has to have faster data speeds? If so, why? If you don’t care so much about it, what’s your opinion on the fact some people apparently need to have it? Let me know in the comments!