13 Jul 2015

The end of unlimited data plans

Despite all the “unlimited plans” you may have heard in mobile ads, the market is having a hard time letting go of data caps and limitations.

  • AT&T no longer offer unlimited data plans and is under heavy scrutiny by the FCC for offering a throttled plan in the first place (source: Wired)
  • Verizon no longer offers unlimited data plans either. They even hired an analyst that reported on their website that we should be grateful for data caps. (via Ars Technica)
  • T-Mobile does offer unilimited plans. But, their Fair Use Policy kicks in when you go over 21 GB, throttling speeds down.
  • In Germany, the majority of plans throttle you down to 0.064 Mbit/s once you go over your cap. Which makes your Internet connection almost unusable. (via Quora)

Although we want unlimited, unlimited isn’t really here yet. Even new players try to innovate with their business models, but caps remain. One example is the recent move from Republic Wireless reported by Recode. They are introducing a cap and refund model, rather than unlimited.

Regarding roaming, we’re even further away from unlimited plans. Things are however not all gloomy, especially for travelers in Europe. The EU Commission recently announced that they will order the removal of any extra roaming fees for roaming in the European Union.

€0.05 per megabyte will be the maximum a carrier may charge when using mobile data abroad.
These rates correspond to current maximum wholesale rates, the Commission explained. But they are expected to go down. That’s already a step in the right direction, but we’re not yet close to the truly unlimited data, everywhere.

While we wait for true unlimited data plans, there’s TripMode that can help you make most of your caps and throttled speeds. Try it.