The wireless world appears to be taking a step backwards as Verizon recently confirmed they will be offering tiered pricing on data plans and doing away with unlimited plans. AT&T made the same move last year. While one might expect both carriers to nurture usage dependence and innovation in the world of mobility by continuing to offer unlimited data to their users, the lack of competition leaves them with no incentive to do so.

Once Verizon makes the shift to tiered data, Sprint will be the only major provider offering unlimited data. With such limited competition following the AT&T/T-Mo deal, Verizon can offer less for more and consumers will continue to pay.

It is frustrating to watch this happen as 4G continues to roll out on both Verizon and AT&T. Now you can use up your monthly data allocation faster than ever! Instead, if Verizon invested in their network to provide faster, unlimited connectivity, they could create a world where living without their service becomes less of an option for more individuals. We are in the midst of significant changes that would make this realistic, such as pay-by-phone systems and e-reader popularity for news/books, both bolstered by fast, available wireless connectivity to the Internet.

Instead, we are seeing carriers push out network investment by limiting their service offering while they rely on the market to push new users to them. Something is going to give, but carriers in a low competition market will fend it off as long as possible. It will be interesting to watch the market change as competition continues to dwindle at what appears to be the same rate that wireless data adoption continues to grow.
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David Pastore

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