Unlimited data for all, and for all a capless night?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: December 25, 2013

I apologize for the title with the bad pun; I'm in the holiday spirit and I couldn't contain my enthusiasm for it this morning. With that being said, happy holidays to you! And with that being said, onwards with the article.

So, unlimited data. It's something we all want, but unfortunately cannot all have. It didn't seem all that long ago that unlimited data was something that was widely available just about everywhere, with every carrier - for a price, of course, but nonetheless the option was usually there. However, the option for unlimited data had a very short window before it seemed that the majorty of users, who used AT&T and Verizon, were without option to have unlimited data at all. It was grandfathered or bust.

Fortunately, all is not lost when it comes to the option of having unlimited data. Smaller carriers Sprint and T-Mobile both offer unlimited data plans for rather cheap, comparitively speaking. It might make one think, "Well, why not just go there?" Which would seem like an easy solution, except for it all boils down to the amount of coverage offered by the companies. Generally speaking, Sprint and T-Mobile don't have as much coverage as AT&T and Verizon do, but depending on the area you're living in it might not matter. Regardless, when it comes down to what's more important, coverage or data caps, you're probably going to have to choose between one or the other. 

But according to an article written by BGR, the thought is being entertained that due to average consumer data use rising, choosing between coverage and unlimited data might be a thing of the past soon.

The basic idea of the article briefs over that with average consumer data going from 690MB per month to 1.2GB per month this year. They continue on to say that if the trend continues to head in this direction that it won't be long before average consumer data use rises to 2.4GB of data per month, which goes over what typically serves as the "lowest" data cap for most carriers. This means that companies like AT&T and Verizon, who don't offer unlimited data plans and also typically charge more for higher tiers of data plans, may be losing subscribers in favor of carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile in order to avoid overage charges. 

Overage charges are typically very high in this industry, no matter what you're overaging on. Texts? High overage rate. Minutes? High overage rate. Data? Definitely high overage rate. It's no walk in the park, I'll tell you that. But whether that will deter people so far that they'll go to a company where they don't get as good of coverage is yet to be determined.

I'm not sure how much I believe that people will actually switch to Sprint or T-Mobile just to have unlimited data, at least at this point. It does seem like both Sprint and T-Mobile are working to improve their networks, whereas Verizon and AT&T feel comfortable (not to mention confident) with where they stand - but like manufacturers and the features they include in their devices, I do wonder if too much beligerence will keep them from staying ahead for much longer. Then again, if they're willing to implement programs similar to T-Mobile's Jump! just because it was so popular, perhaps they'll become keen on offering unlimited data again.

Readers, what do you think about this idea? Do you think that Verizon and AT&T will offer unlimited data again due to a raise in data caps, or do you think that they'll stick to their guns? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!