Meerkat Users Beware

by derekwilmot on March 20, 2015

“ATT Free Msg: Your data usage is near 5GB this month. Exceeding 5GB during this or future billing cycles will result in reduced data speeds. Wi-Fi helps you avoid reduced speeds. Visit att.com/datainfo or call 866-344-7584 for more info.”

Grabbing the Stream

Recently I received a text message from AT&T about our data plan, stating we were approaching 5 Gb, and that anything over 5 Gb utilized during this billing cycle would actually reduce the rate of speed at which we received or transmitted data.

For 8 years we have had an unlimited data plan through AT&T. We signed up for unlimited data when we bought our first generation iPhones. Given that we were grandfathered in, for this very reason alone we’ve never considered switching to another carrier. In 8 years, this was the first time we had ever received this notification from AT&T.

Apparently, AT&T has been “throttling” users speeds for months, since I recently read in the Huffington Post that AT&T was being sued for this very practice.

Within the last week, we realized we had done only one action differently. We had a test drive scheduled for the new 2015 Toyota Sienna mini-van in which we took a road trip skiing to Pat’s Peak in Southern New Hampshire. Since I wasn’t able to attend South by Southwest Interactive, I decided to repeatedly live-stream our experiences through Meerkat on Twitter.

Meerkat LogoWith the rise of apps and social platforms like Meerkat and Periscope, there is a tremendous financial implication depending on which data plan you are subscribed to. If you have unlimited data but exceed your allotment, your bandwidth will slow down, impacting your ability to stream video and audio effectively. If you pay for your data usage or don’t have a hefty plan, you could see significant fees.

After a phone call with AT&T it was suggested I switch from an unlimited data plan to the 10 Gb family plan. By giving up the grandfathered unlimited data plan, I would be sacrificing speed for the potential of a considerable amount of additional fees. In my opinion, this is a scam, a total data plan deception, allowing mobile carriers to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in overage fees.

By limiting the amount of data we are able to stream, unless you are in an area that has Wi-Fi, your broadcast capabilities will limit your voice and the ultimate ability to grow your brand in an authentic, social way.

What are your thoughts about being surcharged as technology grows and communication companies don’t follow?

To avoid paying additional fees each month, you will either have have to pay carriers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint a hefty price tag in order to cover the cost of your data, or become diligent about staying in touch with your carrier by monitoring how much bandwith has been utilized.

What will you choose? Will you:

1. Limit your broadcasting to areas where you are receiving wifi?

2. Purchase an additional plan or device to allow connectivity to a mobile hotspot?

3. Or take your chances on paying a hefty bill each month?

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