Finding a Data Cap That Fits

8:00 AM -- I doubt wireless service providers will move to pay-per-bit or usage-based billing anytime soon. Having tiers of service where consumers pick how much data they think they'll use is more productive for the bottom line. Consumers want to avoid penalties and bill shock, so they often buy a higher, more expensive tier that allows for more data than they'll actually use in a given month.

That was the main point I made on a recent appearance on TIA NOW, the video service run by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) , starting at about the 5:00 mark. Click here to see that video.

Of course, we're seeing data caps in wireline networks, too, as broadband providers are slowing training consumers that there is no such thing as all-you-can-eat broadband, since so much compelling content is being consumed outside the confines of what's offered via popular pay TV services.

Consumers may not like data caps, but they'll be with us for a while. Why? They seem to be the only way operators can assure their shareholders that they will grow the amount of revenue they can get per user even after the customer is purchasing the highest available speed on the network. Add and change the tiers at will, impose ludicrous fees for "unlimited" plans and you can force consumers to buy a little more data each time.

While we're talking about this, what service provider plan do you like the most? Which one suits you best or offers what you think is a solid bargain?

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— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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