Unlimited data plans have a new lease on life, thanks to a federal judge who told AT&T that they certainly would have to pay the piper for throttling data plans that they call "unlimited."
Unlimited data plans are not new. I had an unlimited data plan with AT&T for years. Every time I upgraded to a new device, they told me I would lose my unlimited data plan. All it took was speaking to a supervisor to get my unlimited data plan "grandfathered in" for each new device. I moved from a basic smartphone to a Blackberry then to an iPhone or three. I kept my unlimited data plan the whole time.
Then the throttling started. No amount of pleading or griping would change it. The landscape was shifting, and my truly "unlimited data plan" was sinking from sight. I missed it. I had grown accustomed to having no worries about throttling, overage charges, and that kind of baloney that my friends were all up in the air about.
I left AT&T because of this so-called unlimited plan. I worked in a much more mobile job then than I do nowadays. It impacts me less because I am within wi-fi coverage far more than not.
But having truly unlimited data -- unthrottled -- sure has its advantages. Here are my Top Five uses for unlimited data plans, if you can get one.
Sitting in any parking lot, any traffic jam, any slow restaurant and being able to pop open Netflix and catch up on another episode of Sons of Anarchy is worth the unlimited data plan.
I have gladly ponied up $10 a month for ad-free and mobile Spotify streaming. This is especially helpful on road trips, out running, and out by the pool where your wi-fi may not reach. Again, an unlimited data plan is a must for that.
Facetime from Anywhere
When we lived halfway across the country from grandparents, we were able to show them their grandkids trick-or-treating, playing on the beach, or in recitals -- all in real-time. Sure, we could've sent videos, but interaction is very different.
Downloads and Updates
Allow your device to automatically update your apps, work in the background, and maintain location services without worry about overage because you're out of wi-fi coverage.
Waze and Maps
While GPS is not necessarily the biggest data eater on your device, getting turn-by-turn directions, avoiding traffic jams, and finding out where speed traps are is well worth it. If you live on the road, you can burn up tons of data. Unlimited plans to the rescue.