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[ NNSquad ] Google Phone "Heavy" Data Users May be Throttled

                Google Phone "Heavy" Data Users May be Throttled


Greetings.  With today's official announcement of the HTC G1
smartphone running Google's long-awaited Android OS -- sure to
inspire significant data usage by many adopters -- a particular
section in the fine print of T-Mobile's 3G data information page 
( http://www.t-mobileg1.com/3G.aspx ) was brought to my attention by
several alert observers.  To wit:

   "If your total data usage in any billing cycle is more than 1GB,
    your data throughput for the remainder of that cycle may be reduced
    to 50 kbps or less. Your data session, plan, or service may be
    suspended, terminated, or restricted for significant roaming or if
    you use your service in a way that interferes with our network or
    ability to provide quality service to other users."

I'm actually rather disinclined to pass judgment on this policy just
yet.  Given the special characteristics and limitations of cellular
data networks that are certainly different from non-wireless
systems, true "data hogs" on the former can be a genuine problem.

However, there are a couple of concerns.  First, a powerful phone
like the G1 is, as I suggested above, going to encourage data usage
to an extent not usually seen for other phones in standalone usage.
The wide open Google Android development and applications
distribution environments are likely to encourage a vast range of
attractive data-hungry programs for the G1 -- perhaps far exceeding
those of Apple's relatively closed-environment iPhone.

This means that reaching 1 GB of data in a month might not be a
particularly difficult feat with the G1 (or later Android phones
that will appear).  We're talking about a bit more than 30 MB per
day data usage -- and that's just not the same sort of "big" number
that it used to be.  If data throttling kicks in, you're likely to
really notice the drop from 3G speeds down to 50 Kbps or less 
(hmm -- just how much less? Inquiring minds want to know ...)

I must admit that I'm certainly interested in putting a G1 Android
phone through its paces and reporting the results, though I'm not
prepared at this point to jump over to a 2-year T-Mobile contract
for the privilege.  I continue to wonder how much longer T-Mobile
will continue without an attempt made to merge it with one of the
other U.S. wireless carriers, and some of possibilities in that
regard are rather depressing.

G1 manufacturer HTC builds great phones.  My Cingular 8125 (HTC
Wizard) has provided excellent service for several years within its
design capabilities, but there's no way getting around that fact
that its getting rather long in the tooth, and going out for lunch
waiting for MS WM5 to boot does get a bit boring after a while.  

So I freely admit that if an unlocked G1 Android suddenly appeared
here, the SIM card in my Wizard would fly into the G1 faster than
you can say PageRank.  I won't hold my breath for this to transpire,

We could potentially be heading for the bizarre and unfortunate
situation, in both the cellular wireless and wired Internet
environments, where uber-powerful consumer devices of various sorts
may routinely outstrip the capabilities of commonly used Internet
access facilities (and/or easily run afoul of ISP terms-of-service

Such circumstances would certainly not be expected to inspire
consumer confidence nor enthusiasm, to be sure.

Lauren Weinstein
lauren@vortex.com or lauren@pfir.org 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR
   - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org 
Co-Founder, NNSquad 
   - Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com 
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com