Yahoo! Singapore reports investment firm Kim Eng in Singapore has revealed that operators on the island republic are planning to reduce generous data caps, scrap the current unlimited data option in 3G packages, and roll out more usage-based plans in the future.
The report noted that the review comes after the ever-increasing adoption of instant messaging platforms and Voice over IP (VoIP) applications such as WhatsApp and Viber. Such tools allow mobile users to send text messages and make phone calls for free, thus eroding the need to pay for costly voice calls or SMS.
A spokesperson for StarHub confirmed with Yahoo! Singapore that the company is indeed working on reviewing the price scheme for its data packages and may consider rolling out usage-based data pricing.
“We are reviewing current pricing plans and consider introducing usage-based data pricing to ensure optimal network quality for our customers,” said Chan Kin Hung, StarHub’s head of products and solutions.
“In addition, we will not offer unlimited mobile broadband plan on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) platform when we launch our LTE service, which is likely to take place in the second half of 2012,” he added.
Mobile data usage is through the roof, this is a global phenomenon and the advent of increasingly powerful mobile devices and apps will only fuel this momentum, but what are operators doing to cope with the surge in demand?
Bandwidth, just like water, electricity or oil, is a finite resource. There is a cost that’s tied up to bandwidth and someone has to pay for it. As revenue from traditional streams like voice calls and SMS slow down, operators are hard pressed to find other ways to turn a profit.
Data is the next big thing for operators but unlimited plans are not feasible for business, at the end of the day something has got to give and by the looks of it, consumers are being served the short end of the stick.
Will Malaysian operators resort to doing the same? It looks very likely. The number of mobile devices is on the rise and so too is mobile data usage. At the same time, voice and SMS usage has plateaued. As a result, operators are now applying more stringent control over subscriber data usage. Where before you could get away with bursting your monthly data cap, chances are operators are not so lenient anymore.
It might be a couple of more years or perhaps a little bit more but the days of the unlimited mobile internet plans are numbered, wherever you are. The sad fact about all this is that there’s pretty much nothing we can do about it. When the time comes, we will all have to bite the bullet and start being responsible with our data just like how we are with our water and electricity. Internet has indeed become the utility of the modern world. Like any utility, there is a cost that we will all have to bare.