How Do You Data Cap a Video Camera?

3:50 PM -- If, as seems likely, Verizon Wireless moves to a tiered data billing system when it goes commercial with Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless later this year, it'll be interesting to see how the carrier squares data caps with the massive increase in traffic and large amount of new devices it expects on the network.

Verizon's VP of Open Development, Tony Lewis, made it clear that smartphones and laptops will not be the only thing on the network. He's expecting all kinds of consumer devices on the Verizon network and a big jump in wireless data usage overall as carriers move to LTE.

"It's been estimated that in just five years, the monthly volume of data will exceed today's annual volume," Lewis said.

If you have a phone, a laptop, a gaming console, a tablet, and a video camera, all connected in some way to the LTE network, then it is not hard to see how your data consumption could rise dramatically by today's standards. The question becomes, how on earth do you bill for all that data?

Unlimited is still the simplest way for user and carrier: One big bucket of data for every device.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) altered its plans before the iPhone launch, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) wants to better enforce laptop caps, and Verizon has dropped some heavy hints about moving to a metered system for LTE. (See Verizon's Advantages: Unlimited Data & Android and Verizon Says LTE Will Match 3G Footprint in 2013.)

That could be good for some users that don't use that much data right now. They might even see some lower phone bills. That will all change, however, if the expected tide of wireless consumer electronics devices arrives on LTE.In fact, carriers are banking on it, so that they can replace falling voice revenues with data money.

Personally, I'm going to need to see a comprehensive system of email and text-message billing alerts before I use a device like a wireless video camera, which could use a lot of data but won't necessarily alert me to data overages, on an LTE network. Data roaming charges can often be a shocker these days. I want instant alerts that tell me how much I'm using and how much it costs -- preferably before the upload or download happens -- if we're all going to get forced onto shiny new tiered plans.

I suspect this means that carrier billing systems in the US need to get better. Fast.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

ldgregg 12/5/2012 | 4:32:12 PM
re: How Do You Data Cap a Video Camera?

Verizon Wireless actually does a good job of sending SMS alerts of impending usage overages (voice and data).    As carriers apply data caps, I think they will all need to offer that (alerts) as an option to maintain customer loyalty.

ldgregg 12/5/2012 | 4:32:11 PM
re: How Do You Data Cap a Video Camera?

Agree.  You'll start to see lots of other types of data devices (photo frames, intelligent RX caps, dog collars, kid trackers, etc) and carriers/sellers  will offer flat-rate/annual subscriptions.

opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 4:32:11 PM
re: How Do You Data Cap a Video Camera?

Cameras are a high-bandwidth, but many devices aren't. An existing 3G example is the Kindle. User's don't pay for bandwidth--it is all handled by Amazon and bandwidth is self-limiting. Perhaps more examples of this kind of model will start showing up on various types of connected devices.

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