Here are the stats on my cellular data usage over one year on Sprint’s network1. (I got the phone on Halloween of 2011, and took this screenshot on Halloween of 2012.)
7 GB down and 1 GB up; 8 GB total; that averages to 666 MB per month. Clearly I’m not a heavy cellular data user and not making the most out of Sprint’s unlimited data allotment; this would fit comfortably within the other carriers’ smallest real2 data plans (1GB/month).
Speaking of unlimited data plans: this might sound heretical to some, but I really wouldn’t mind metered data at a fair price. Say a penny a megabyte, billing you only for what you use. That comes out to $10 per gigabyte, which is actually the marginal rate that AT&T and Verizon are charging now anyway, except first they make you pay a minimum $30/month commitment and then they round up to the next gigabyte.
Of course, I also wouldn’t mind an unlimited plan that was cheap and fast and allowed tethering3.
In the meantime, here in the US we have Sprint offering unlimited data at a price that’s fair for heavy users but not especially cheap for light users, and their network isn’t the fastest and they have surcharge for tethering. Then we have AT&T and Verizon saying unlimited plans don’t incent them to invest in their networks so they’ve moved to metered plans; on the plus side their networks have gotten markedly faster and they don’t charge extra for tethering on the metered plans; however their metering methods don’t meet my definition of fair.
Actually 11 1/2 months on Sprint’s network, and 10 days on O2 Ireland and 3 days on Three UK during a trip to Europe. Both of their data networks, but especially Three’s, were better than what I’m accustomed to in the USA, which is especially infuriating given they’re also much cheaper.↩
Ignoring AT&T’s toy 250 MB/month plan.↩
Which actually exists in much of the world, but not in the USA.↩