Owen DeLong owen at
Thu Dec 5 22:00:28 UTC 2013

On Dec 4, 2013, at 10:54 PM, Mikael Abrahamsson <swmike at> wrote:

> On Wed, 4 Dec 2013, Owen DeLong wrote:
>> Depends on your carrier. From AT&T, I have $29 unlimited and I have definitely cranked down more over that (faster) LTE connection in some months than through my $100+ cable connection.
>> From VZW, I'm paying $100+/month and only getting 10GB over LTE, but I rarely exceed 10GB per month from my (again slower) cable connection.
>> T-Mo is offering unlimited LTE for something like $100/mo IIRC. (Their plans change so often and so quickly right now that it's hard to keep up).
>> Several of the MVNOs offer unlimited for $40/month.
> Have you tried downloading 500 gigabytes in a month on any of these? I highly doubt any of the LTE solutions are “unlimited" then.

Nothing is completely unlimited because you hit the bandwidth limitations if you try hard enough.

I generally get around 40-50 Mbps over LTE.

Downloading 500Gig at that rate would be roughly 1/2 of the maximum possible throughput for the entire month.

Of course, I haven’t tried to do that because I can’t really think what I would do with the data.

However, there have been months where I have done over 200GB on the AT&T connection. For my purposes, that’s close enough to unlimited. YMMV. Choose the plan that works best for you.

>> Who cares? I'm talking about cost to the consumer which is absolutely equivalent to price from the supplier since they are one and the same.
> Your usage pattern makes wireless feasable. Watching two hours per day of Netflix 1080p on the above connections changes the equation completely.

I regularly watch 2 hours of netflix per day on my iPad, so in addition to some other bandwidth-intense things that I do (like downloading a complete set of aviation charts for the entire (not just continental) US, IFR and VFR) every 14-28 days, miscellaneous video surfing, and various other usage which is lower bandwidth (most of the time) plus an average of about 5GB per month of App updates most of which are downloaded via the LTE network, I would say my usage pattern falls exactly into the “changes the equation completely” category you just mentioned.

>> However, just like the mythical isotropic radiator, I don't expect any of that to happen any time soon. So, in the meantime, wireless bandwidth cost (from an end-user perspective) is rapidly approaching wireline bandwidth cost as I said before. This is the reality that we currently live in, regardless of how dysfunctional it may be.
> For your usage pattern, I agree.

Except you just cited something that falls a little short of my usage pattern as an example of what doesn’t work, so, color me confused.

> We have the same deal here, for the same price per month you can have access to ~80 megabit/s LTE, or you can have 100/10 cable. The problem is that with LTE you get 80 gigabytes/month in cap. The cable connection doesn't have a cap. Also, the cable connection actually delivers 100 megabit/s at peak to you, which the LTE connection definitely doesn’t (because you share the cell with hundreds of others).

If AT&T has capped me, then, I haven’t managed to hit the cap as yet. Admittedly, the connection isn’t always as reliable as $CABLECO, but when it works, it tends to work at full speed and it does work the vast majority of the time.

OTOH, I have routinely run into circumstances where $CABLECO is not delivering what they promised in terms of throughput.

> What's been happening here is that the price for fixed access has remained approximately the same (10-50 USD per month for 100/10 or 100/100 depending on if you have coax or fiber/CAT6), LTE is in the 20-50 USD range as well for 80 megabit/s, but you get capped and have to pay to increase your monthly cap. Thus, for light consumers this is fine, but for people who actually use their connection for video or bulk data, wireless is very much more expensive (which reflects actual cost of producing the service, wireline has a low marginal cost for bandwidth, there it’s establishing the infrastructure that costs, whereas for wireless you have medium-high cost for establishing the infrastructure, but also a medium-high cost to increase the bandwidth in the cell).

Even if you double the price of LTE today, that’s still less than 1/10th of the cost of equivalent bandwidth in 3G wireless. My argument wasn’t that they are equal today, but, that the price ramp on wireless is APPROACHING parity. The fact that you are arguing not that the price won’t reach parity, but, that the extent to which it has done so is limited kind of makes my point in that regard.


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