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Carriers envision "drip-casting" relief to metered data plans

Posted: , by Scott H.

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Carriers envision
Are Verizon and AT&T tired of hearing Sprint berate them for their “capped” data plans, or are they trying to encourage more responsible network usage? Perhaps it’s a little bit of both, but with the introduction of drip-casting customers who missed out on unlimited data plans will be able to find some relief to their data restrictions if they plan ahead.

Drip-casting is the idea that a movie or other large file can be made to put much less strain on a network if the data can be routed and timed for maximum efficiency. Rather than trying to watch the Dark Knight right now, if you realize the night before that you’d like to watch it (perhaps on a trip you are taking) you could order it ahead of time, and the network could then load the movie during off-peak hours, and they could route the data through less congested areas.

In exchange for your patience and forethought, the data would not count against your monthly data plan. While mobile users have traditionally expected services to be available on demand, the notion of “free” is a powerful motivator, and we could see many smartphone and tablet owners choosing to go this route. Also, with DVRs and physical movie rentals some degree of planning is already the norm for TV and movie watching, so many consumers wouldn’t have to change their behavior much to take advantage of the free data.

For those who are in a hurry (or caught by surprise) all of the regular services would still be available, they’ll just continue to count against your data plan like they do today. How soon can we expect to see drip-casting? Verizon technology executive Shadman Zafar thinks it will be sooner than you think, stating "All these technologies are real and ready to go, this year you'll see a lot of innovation."

What do you think? Would you be willing to plan ahead for your movies in exchange for them not counting against your data plan? Let us know in the comments below.

source: Reuters

30 Comments
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posted on 17 Jan 2012, 10:26

1. ZayZay (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)


Another faucet eh?

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 10:41 3

2. bigdawg23 (Posts: 388; Member since: 25 May 2011)


Its great that Sprint has unlimited data on their SLOW network. I have grandfathered AT&T Unlimited Data but I could live with a 2GB plan. I have two other smart phones on my plan that use 20-40MB of their 200MB. With WIFI its easy to avoid caps.

As for the idea that would be cool but not sure I would ever use it.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 14:20 1

15. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5908; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


"Its great that Sprint has unlimited data on their SLOW network."

And if your 'unlimited' data consumption gets high enough, unlimited usage gets throttled back to slower than Sprint's SLOW network. This is kind of like being damned if you do and damned if you don't. Moral of the story - get cable modem service for movie downloads.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 17:09

21. ZayZay (Posts: 565; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)


Example of my "Slow" Sprint network.

@ Home - .10 mbps 3G and 1.10 mbps 4G

@ Work - 1.5 mbps 3G and 10 mbps 4G

At home is in a busier bigger city and the tower is 4 miles away.

At work in a way less busy city and area the tower is not even a mile away, I can actually see the tower from my windows.

I have used 28 gigs in the 22 days of my bill this month mostly at work and have not been decreased in speeds.

It really just depends on where you are, tower location, and how busy the area is. (From my experience)

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 10:41 9

3. clevername (Posts: 1430; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


Just give back unlimited data. Or a better compromise: free nights and weekends with rollover data.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 10:51 4

4. bloodpanther (Posts: 32; Member since: 15 Jul 2010)


Rollover data would be nice.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 13:10

11. clevername (Posts: 1430; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


I would be happy with it. its a little annoYing how data packages are set up anyway. I couldn't even learn to use less than a gig but thanks to wifi everywhere I go I don't approach 2gigs. I feel like I'm forced into paying for something I don't need just because the alternative isn't enough.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 15:11

16. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 863; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)


Now that's one of the best ideas I've ever heard.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 17:15

22. ardent1 (Posts: 1997; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


I wouldn't mind if the carrier gave double data on the weekends and nights when the networks are being used. The next best thing would be rollover data (the carriers already have this billing system in place for month to month users).

Right now data on a contract cost about $8 per GB ($80 for 10 GB) for Verizon to as low as $6 per GB ($30 for 5 GB) on Tmobile's plan. That means carriers can charge $6 per GB and still make money.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 17:45

23. thephoneguy92 (Posts: 191; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Your theory only works with the max amount of data for a carrier. For example, on Verizon, its $30 for 2 GB ($15 for 1 GB) and T-Mobile has 2GB for $20. So I'm a bit confused on your rates here....

posted on 19 Jan 2012, 07:34

30. ardent1 (Posts: 1997; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


Data is data -- the transmission of the data is independent of the device. If I get the data on the handset or a mobile hot spot, I am getting data.

> So I'm a bit confused on your rates here....
Verizon 4G -- $50 for 5GB of data or $80 for 10 GB of data. That is where I got $8 per GB.

Tmobile via a deal with Walmart or own Tmobile's web deal, you get 5GB of 4G data and 100 minutes of anytime minutes for $30. That comes out to $6 per GB.

posted on 18 Jan 2012, 09:44

26. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


unlimited data on cellphones is a horrible idea.

Sorry but the customer always thinks it's a great idea. I (being an employee of a cellphone store) will always find it to be an awful idea.

Here's why: There will still be those who abuse the network and use it to torrent or play xbox from their phone. I could root my rezound and get free hotspot along with free tethering. It would bog down the network at such a rapid rate as the increase of this knowledge would grow.

you can all it your "right" all you want, but the reality of it is, is that there isnt anyway to regulate how much data someone uses on an unlimited plan. "Throttling" customers has to be done by a person; this person has to get a paycheck, thus costs go up to companies and then it reaches your pocket(s).

hate to be a debbie downer, but lets be real here. You cant have your cake and eat it too with cellphone data :)

posted on 18 Jan 2012, 10:41

28. dbailey (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Jan 2012)


Why can't we have unlimited data?

How about this, when a thousand consumers go to verizon for cell phone service in a particular area. Verizon responds by taking some of the monthly income I/we provide expand thier network to accomodate the extra users? 30 bucks a month from a thousand people is 300,000 dollars in monthly income, with a two year contract multiply that by 24 is 7.2 million dollars. Why can't that money go into the building the network? I understand there is over head but it can't be that bad.

Verizon needs to look ahead to the fact that consumers want untethered data that is fast cheap and reliable. Stop fighting customers and invest in your business instead of maximizeing shareholder revenue.

How about the people that do use to much data end up getting throttled, oh wait that aleady happens.

support.verizonwireless.com/information/data_discl​​osure.html

posted on 18 Jan 2012, 20:10

29. clevername (Posts: 1430; Member since: 11 Jul 2008)


Lol I would never call it my right. I'm not someone who feels entitled because I'm American or Christian or another reason. I understand unlimited data is gone. But like I said there are compromises to be made. Rollover data, would alleviate the pressure. Any other idea is gladly welcomed

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 10:54 1

5. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6668; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Yes please GIVE US BACK OUR UNLIMITED DATA PLAN. I don't use my data much because of this dumb ass cap plan. I wanted to stream my music when I'm not at home. This is why they loose lots of costumers because of it

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 11:11

6. downphoenix (Posts: 2372; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


Still not good enough. Increasing the caps, or better yet, getting rid of them, is the only true solution. A movie isnt "on demand" if you have to download it in the middle of the night before you can watch it.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 11:48 3

7. Jeromeo (Posts: 135; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


Doesn't this ideology directly conflict with the prime purpose of The Internet:
Access to ANY content at ANY time from ANY terminal?

It should NOT be left up a consumer to take time out of his/her busy life to help large [record-breakingly profitable] corporations streamline bytes, compress data, integrate codecs, alleviate network congestion, or schedule future usage based upon peak hours*!
*If you pay $30 a month for data, your data should be available to you at any moment--at the moment YOU see fit to access the data YOU'VE paid for.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 12:24

10. PimpStrong (Posts: 310; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)


"the prime purpose of The Internet:
Access to ANY content at ANY time from ANY terminal"

"your data should be available to you at any moment--at the moment YOU see fit to access the data YOU'VE paid for"

Isn't that how it is right now??

I recycle. Recycling is not offered through my trash service so I break down, sort, and separate my waste at home myself and then deposit it into marked containers at a neighborhood location. What I do every week is a small step towards saving the earth. Now, of course my data usage will not ultimately make or break my carrier but it will save them on costs(somehow) and efficiency and that will lead to two things: 1 Less cost increases for us on our bills and 2 less network congestion for us either right now or in the future.

If I KNEW I was going to watch a movie on a trip tomorrow, what's it to me to just allow MY network to buffer it or whatever by simply clicking clicking on it in advance?

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 13:51 1

13. Jeromeo (Posts: 135; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


I take a silly amount of time out of my day to wash out recyclables, separate different plastics, compost, and make sure I can put more recycling out than garbage. I have 5 recycling bins; every other neighbor around me has one to none [bins] (but repeatedly has overflowing garbage cans).
Waste Management Companies spend pennies on the dollar to have sorters separate different materials to eventually sell them off in bulk to create an incredible return on their investment and make record profits.
YOU DON'T have to pay a monthly fee to do something intelligent, logical, and good for your planet (you pay flat-fee county taxes are taxes, whether you like 'em or not); YOU DO have to pay for data (whether you use it or not).
For carriers to ask me to set a schedule of 'what I want to watch and when I am forced to watch it' days in advance without the opportunity to change my mind (while I'm paying for it) is total bull sh*t.
This is akin to reservations. Yes, you make reservations at a busy place to dine where you wish to dine, but you can cancel, you can leave, you can just randomly show up without 'em. All of those options don't require a 2 year monthly payment commitment!!! When there are 30 other restaurants within driving/walking/public transport distance, you can simply go to another one. When there are only 4 carriers, all with with 2-year, binding contracts (plus cancellation fees!), you are stuck...

Final answer: the network should have been prepared for you to access the data you paid for, whether you reserved it, planned for it, or decided at the last minute you wanted it.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 15:33 1

18. Scott_H (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Oct 2011)


Jeromeo, the carriers aren't going to change anything from the current situation, they are simply going to reward customers that reduce network congestion by allowing them bonus data (i.e. data that doesn't count against their monthly cap).

That's not to say that consumers shouldn't want a better deal or more choices, but no one is getting screwed over by this change. It's basically the polar opposite of the ill-fated $2 "convenience" fee Verizon wanted to charge - rather than punishing customers from doing something they can already do, the networks are looking to reward customers who make choices that are aligned with the carriers' interests.

There isn't much down-side to this, even if it doesn't go as far as you would like.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 15:57 1

19. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 863; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)


That analogy makes no sense, not to mention it sounds like you just had to throw that treehugger statement about saving the earth in there. Thumbs down for that.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 17:49 1

24. thephoneguy92 (Posts: 191; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Your data is available to you at the moment you see fit and you are available to access the data you've paid for. IE you have paid for 2GB of data, and you can use that whenever you'd like. Now, if you wanted to download movies the old way, you would be getting hit with high amounts of data on your bill. If you were to do it with this new system, you could avoid those extra data charges. Why are you complaining that they are giving you alternatives to saving data?

posted on 18 Jan 2012, 09:48 1

27. atheisticemetic (Posts: 377; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


@thephoneguy92 finally someone that is a realist...

im sick of people yappin about data this and data that.

you have access to it now, so use it now. Or.... They're offering a way to reward those who dont use it as often but would still like to use that content without it counting against their usage.

shouldnt we just be happy that they're doing something to benefit the customer?

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 12:11 1

8. PimpStrong (Posts: 310; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)


I'm on T-Mobile with a 2GB "Unlimited" data plan and I use just over half a gigabyte per month. I would love some type of return on my unused data. How about a $15 1GB plan or cut that ridiculous $10 250 MB plan down to $5 and make room for a $10 1GB plan. K Thanks.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 12:13

9. snowgator (Posts: 3275; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


There has always been incentives to use your services at low usages times. If you have ever lived in Florida, you know you can face fines for watering your lawn during the day instead of at night. Phone companies always had better rates for weekends and evenings. Power companies BEG you to turn down your thermostat during the cold nights of winter and then turn them up during the hot days of summer to help relieve the burden on the power grids. This is a natural, predictable result of the increase of data traffic. Let's see how they implement it and what incentives they offer.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 13:26 1

12. Jeromeo (Posts: 135; Member since: 11 Jan 2010)


You meant "there HAVE always been incentives"...
The most efficient time to water your lawn is between 3-5AM because it's the time of the day with lowest air movement, lowest evaporation, and the smallest convection currents. Anyone who thinks watering their grass when the sun is brightest and hottest while the wind is most active does not understand convection currents, heat, evaporation, or basic logic (let alone science), and should be fined for stupidity.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 14:07

14. snowgator (Posts: 3275; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Amen, Jeromeo. All the time I lived in North Fort Myers Florida and in Tampa I had this argument with people. The best lawns were watered after midnight, and I totally accept your 3-5 AM agrument without question.

I was just using the example to defend AT&T and Verizon for trying to offer incentives to get users to download data during "low ebb" if you will. Most posters on here were kinda negative on it, I think it is a good comprimise. You will let me download huge files and not charge me for it??? I am all in. I would set my alarm clock for that.

Sorry for my "has/have" butchering.....

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 15:25

17. Forsaken77 (Posts: 552; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)


I would like to see data plans give a pro-rated credit for the following month for unused data. I had the 2GB plan on AT&T. I use wifi ALOT, plus AT&T has alot of wifi hot spots around me, so I didn't need that much data. I reduced my plan from the $25 2GB's to the $15 200MB plan. But even still... I only end up using like 50MB. So I leave alot of data on the table. Either give me a credit next month or offer 3 tiers instead of 2.

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 16:47

20. Baseballer (Posts: 132; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


Why not just get petitions with ALOT of names to get rid of data plans because its only making the carriers richer and stripping us of cash? that'd get te attention

posted on 17 Jan 2012, 20:02

25. isprobi (Posts: 218; Member since: 30 May 2011)


I favor a flat rate per GB plan. Maybe $6-8 for 3G $8-10 for 4G.

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