The Best Data Plans of 2012
(and which ones can actually keep up with you)
2011 was not a good year for data plans. I don’t know about you, but without three abominably cute animals delivered to my phone a day from imgur, I AM NOT a nice human being! 2gb of data cuts you piddles in terms of youtube videos and pandora stations. So. You want a real data plan. Lets take a moment and see what is out there.
In the united states, it comes down to the four big players in the market. Lets take a look and see what they get you.
If you are in the US, you are of course familiar with all four of the companies to your left. What you may not be familiar with however, is the rate at which Data usage across the wireless spectrum is increasing.
From 2010 to 2015 Mobile Data Traffic will see a 26 fold Increase
From the Cisco Visual Networking Index, according to this study over 50% of the wireless network traffic will be from videos in 2012.
- The top 1 percent of mobile data subscribers generate over 20 percent of mobile data traffic, down from 30 percent 1 year ago. According to a mobile data usage study conducted by Cisco, mobile data traffic has evened out over the last year and now matches the 1:20 ratio that has been true of fixed networks for several years. Similarly, the top 10 percent of mobile data subscribers now generate approximately 60 percent of mobile data traffic, down from 70 percent at the beginning of the year.
- Average smartphone usage doubled in 2010. The average amount of traffic per smartphone in 2010 was 79 MB per month, up from 35 MB per month in 2009.
- Smartphones represent only 13 percent of total global handsets in use today, but they represent over 78 percent of total global handset traffic. In 2010, the typical smartphone generated 24 times more mobile data traffic (79 MB per month) than the typical basic-feature cell phone (which generated only 3.3 MB per month of mobile data traffic).
- Globally, 31 percent of smartphone traffic was offloaded onto the fixed network through dual-mode or femtocell in 2010. Last year, 14.3 petabytes of smartphone and tablet traffic were offloaded onto the fixed network each month. Without offload, traffic originating from smartphones and tablets would have been 51 petabytes per month rather than 37 petabytes per month in 2010.
- Android approaches iPhone levels of data use. At the beginning of the year, iPhone consumption was at least 4 times higher than that of any other smartphone platform. Toward the end of the year, iPhone consumption was only 1.75 times higher than that of the second-highest platform, Android.
- In 2010, 3 million tablets were connected to the mobile network, and each tablet generated 5 times more traffic than the average smartphone. In 2010, mobile data traffic per tablet was 405 MB per month, compared to 79 MB per month per smartphone.
Regular Phone Plans Comparison
Data Plans of 2012
Verizon offers 10gb for $80 / month + $10/gb after that.
AT&T offers 5gb for $60 / month + $50/gb after that.
T-Mobile offers 10gb high speed / month for $120 + packet shaping after that.
Sprint offers Unlimited Data for $70 / month.
So if you are just using the data on your phone a little here and there, send emails, et cetera, it probably doesn’t matter who you go with. But if you are streaming youtube videos, watching weeds, captioning cats, and listening to your Pandora One stations, while geeking out to Oh Yah Dude, then you are going to LOVE having the unlimited data plan from Sprint.