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LTE vs. The Incredible Shrinking Data Plan

About 45 minutes.  That’s what it would take, at the low end (5Mbps) theoretical range of Verizons 4G LTE network, to burn through your allotted data.  Here’s the figures.

5 Megabits = 5,242,880 bits

Total seconds in a 30 day month = 2,592,000

Maximum total of data transferred given  the above = 13,589,544,960,000 bits, or just under 1.6 terabytes.

Now, you don’t have to tell me, I know the above is ridiculous and nearly everyone manages to stay underneath their data plans umbrellas.  At least, they do now.  From the early days of 1RXTT and Mobile Web, data plans have done nothing but go up in size and down in cost.  As of late, all the major carriers have put a stranglehold on their data plans, citing cost and the top 1% who have managed to wrangle up data amounts well beyond their expectations.  This goes along with typical business sense but with people already scraping the top of their data plans with their 3G phones right now, something is going to bust.

As smartphones are continuing to get bigger, better, and bad-asser, the data plans seem to be getting smaller and more restrictive.  As data rates increase, screens increase, and mobile support for things like HTML5, IP6, and larger images become less frustrating on our little personal assistants, our data usage is going to follow suit and rack itself up even faster than it is.  The “Evolution” part of “Long-Term Evolution” is going to guarantee that mobile transfer speeds will do nothing but go up.

Will the carriers give in and increase data rates for 4G (and beyond)?  Will they continue to keep their rates the same?  Will they even start charging more?  Judging by my laptop (With a connection that’s been up for just a few days) being at  over 100 megabytes already, without any big downloads, things are starting to feel a bit cramped in here.

What do you think?  Are the carriers pushing us towards a time when our phones are going to be tethered to Wi-Fi, or will we be okay?