How Do You Data Cap a Video Camera?

3:50 PM Tiered billing on 3G and LTE will mean carriers will have to get a lot better about alerting us to data overages

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

June 15, 2010

2 Min Read
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

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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