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Unlimited Smart Phone Plans May Be Vanishing

According to a report on MSNBC,  AT&T will be moving from its unlimited plan to a  more tiered structure to compensate for the vast amount of data being transferred over smart phones. If AT&T is moving in this direction, you can count on the others following suit.

When the plans were conceived, phones were basically that – phones. You made calls.  Then we were able to text. (Texting doesn’t take up much bandwidth.)

Now with video streaming, gaming, web surfing apps, and millions of available services requiring greater data transfer, the phone carriers are moving toward a  more “pay as you play” plan. This is not entirely greedy.  It is made necessary by the limits of infrastructure, maintenance, and being able to supply the vast increase in bandwith necessary to power all of our toys and tools.

Approximately 3% of all users account for 40% of the data transferred. If there is no tiered pricing, all users would have to pay more to support the necessary infrastructure, and profit margins required by the carriers to operate.

How do you plan for this change? Simple.

Most carriers have a web based way that you can check your data usage over the month. Try and estimate what you are actually using, so you can be ready to choose a plan that fits your needs. If you anticipate great changes – such as a move to another city, perhaps going off to college, you would add in a little usage and see if the next higher tier pricing would be good for you. Look at the options that become available to you with your current carrier. And of course, explore other carriers. This has to get very competitive as it will really shake up the market.

BUT! There is no need to panic yet. This has not happened, it is just as they say “in the works” and to me, it really makes sense. Why should everyone pay the freight for the heavy users? Your current contracts are still valid and will be honored, but at the end of your contract over the next several months, don’t be blindsided by additional telecommunications costs. Be ready with a plan!

Here’s a link that can tell you more about this tiered pricing introduction. Tiered Pricing Article

And the clip from the Today Show…

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

ABOUT AUTHOR / Andi

Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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