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[ NNSquad ] Price drop for data - and previous statements

Michael Turk points out that AT&T's new plans do increase prices, but also increase the corresponding caps, with the net effect of decreasing per byte costs.

That's true, but consider the larger picture:  The telco's have consistently justified the caps by saying that almost all their customers will stay under them.  If almost everyone stayed under 2GB yesterday, tomorrow they will be paying more and still likely staying under them - thus paying more for the same thing.

Beyond that, if we're going to consider per byte costs - how do you justify the much higher per byte costs if you go over the cap?  Even if the going over the cap just bought you an additional "unit" the same size as your base - i.e., if you 300MB plus 1 byte on your new 300MB plan, you were automatically signed up for another 300MB at $20 - the net effect would be a very high, in fact *increased* - per byte cost for going over (unless you come close to using up the second block as well).  Not that this is the way the Telco's do it anyway.

In a competitive market, the Telco's should be free to set their prices any way they like.  If they set their prices in a way that loses them customers, well, that's what they deserve.  Any explanations of their prices - in any market - are just part of the marketing, and should be ignored as the non-arguments they are.  What matters is the cost vs. the benefit to the consumer.

The real world of data plans isn't quite so simple, since it's close to a duopoly in most of the country, and an effective monopoly in some places.  That's what justifies arguments about fairness and reasonableness:  We as the people of the US have given out licenses to spectrum with the effect of limiting competition in the marketplace, so we do have a right to speak.  And *my* comment on AT&T's changes is:  The net effect, however it's portrayed, is that AT&T subscribers will pay more, whether they want to use more or not.
                                                        -- Jerry

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