Public Knowledge has published a white paper written by Michael Weinberg entitled 4G + Data Caps = Magic Beans (PDF format) which asserts that 4G data subscriptions from US carriers (except Sprint) are a complete waste of money: “Simply put, data caps make the advantages of 4G irrelevant. The caps prevent anyone from making habitual use of the full potential of a 4G network . . . The 4G offered by major wireless carriers (with the notable exception of Sprint) is a waste of money because it comes with strict data caps. These data caps actively discourage the types of activities that 4G enables. Activities that are made possible by 4G, such as watching movies or uploading video to the internet, are made impossible by the data caps. As a result most users will avoid taking advantage of these new services out of fear of incurring large overage fees. That makes capped 4G little more than a bait and switch, like being sold a handful of magic beans.”
The paper focuses on the 4G data plans offered by AT&T and Verizon because the two companies have such a massive market share in the US. In his conclusion, he states the obvious — that decreasing competition among mobile carriers (especially now that AT&T has announced the acquisition of T-Mobile) is bad for consumers.
Download the PDF: 4G + Data Caps = Magic Beans