The recent elimination of Verizon Wireless Unlimited Data Plans has brought the subject of mobile data caps to the forefront of the industry. T-Mobile and AT&T had already made this change a year ago, but now that three of the top four providers offered tiered plans, it seems as though people are paying more attention. A search on mobile data caps brings up numerous sites dedicated to tracking usage. While most consumers have no idea of the amount of data they use monthly, most would be surprised to learn that the average use of mobile web is less than 200 megabytes. This is now however, and with the marketplace becoming smartphone saturated, the use of data is set to explode in the next four years. Soon all phones will require data plans, and many already do. This is why we have seen providers embrace the mobile web revolution, and shut down the unlimited data buffet.
The major mobile service providers all have a data usage calculator available to help consumers estimate their plan needs. I decided to check out the Verizon mobile data calculator, to see how much data a basic user might accumulate. Here are the results:
Emails (text only) sent: 5 per day
Web Pages Visited: 5 per day
Video Streamed (High Resolution): 2 minutes per day
Video Streamed (Low Resolution): 2 minutes per day
Music Streamed : 5 minutes per day
Photo’s Uploaded: 2 per day
Total Estimated Usage = 1 GB per month
This estimate is based on minimal usage, and while not everyone accesses all of these functions on a daily basis, in the end it shows how the different functions add up.
While it is possible that the change to tiered mobile data plans may cause some users to slow their mobile web usage, most will simply become more aware and potentially more particular of their use. It’s up to the business sector to reply to this consumer concern with refined mobile websites, rather than bulky desktop sites which require more data and time to download. Eventually a site that does not have mobile functionality will lose consumer confidence, and will act as nothing more than a dead end sign for mobile users.