As wireless carriers try to balance the growing demand from smartphone customers with the constant demand from investors to make a profit, some say the future of wireless data plans might stray away from the current tiered structure and toward a model that has customers paying for the services they use the most.
For example, if most of your data usage is from updating and checking Facebook, maybe you pay $X/month to have unlimited access to that service. Or if you stream Netflix flicks while riding the bus to work every morning, you would pay a fee for solely that service so that you don’t have to worry about going over your cap.
CNNMoney’s David Goldman says that the content providers could also subsidize customers’ data usage in an effort to keep users happy and coming back for more.
This type of model already is essentially already being used for the 3G versions of Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, where the 3G access fee covers all the downloads.
However, most Nook and Kindle users are not downloading gigabytes of books each month, so that’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison with Netflix or some other data-chomping service.
Why your cell phone bill is going up [CNNMoney.com]