As new iPhone's released, app developers worry about capped mobile data plans

New York Times
On the day Apple is releasing a new iPhone built for video consumption and distribution,l the phone's exclusive U.S. carrier is implementing a new mobile data pricing structure meant to encourage conservation of bandwidth.

At its annual Worldwide Developer Conference today, Apple is expected to launch its latest iPhone with front and back video camera, a larger screen and the ability to run multiple apps at the same time -- such as reading e-mail while streaming audio from the Pandora Radio app in the background.

Claire Cain Miller and Brad Stone report that some iPhone app developers are concerned that AT&T's new mobile data plans -- $15 per month for 200 MB and $25 for 2 GB -- will cause consumers to think twice before downloading bandwidth-intensive apps such as games and streaming audio and video content.

"And it won't take much to hit the limits with video. Download an hour-long TV show to a smartphone or tablet and you've used 550 megabytes, or well over a quarter of your monthly allotment. Streaming a two-hour movie from Netflix consumes 300 megabytes."

AT&T customers with current $30 "unlimited data" plans are allowed to keep that option but will need to switch to the new tiered pricing structure in order to enable tethering on AT&T's network.

Publishers need to be watching the apparent migration away from unlimited mobile data plans carefully. There are already significant costs associated with smart phone ownership and mobile Web access. Current plans, including voice, data and text messaging easily exceed $100 per month.
AT&T's move has made access cheaper for light data users, $15 instead of $30, but overall the change is likely to result in increased awareness of data consumption and potentially reduced demand for multimedia content on mobile devices.


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