Data Throttling vs. Mobile music streaming

A story on Mashable titled “Your Bandwidth Will Be Throttled: Here’s Why” caught my attention this week. It appears that Verizon and AT&T are to throttle the top five percent of data user’s bandwidth from 3G+ to 2G speeds.

Taking a step back, I have an iPhone with service through AT&T. Thus far, I have been pretty satisfied with it. When I signed up, I felt 2GB of data would be sufficient and that $10 extra to an additional gig of data was reasonable. I have been averaging about 1.5 to 1.8GB of data usage per month.

I was shocked to read that the top five percent of data users are generally those using 2GB or more of mobile data. I don’t consider myself a heavy data user, really. Work email, personal email, Facebook, Foursquare, news apps. Some video and music streaming here and there, but not too often.

Well, I recently began using Spotify, of which I am growing more fond. I cannot, however, see why I would pay $10 per month to allow Spotify streaming on my phone. If I am already reaching my data limits from my every day use, how much overage would I have streaming Spotify? So, $10 per month, plus $10 for an extra 1GB of data? I don’t find that worth it.

Plus, if AT&T and Verizon are throttling users using more than 2GB of data, it seems pointless and would make the apps useless. Obviously, being on wifi doesn’t count toward your monthly data limits, but that’s besides the point. When I am streaming music, it is usually not at home or somewhere with available wifi.

This brings me to my real question: will bandwidth throttling hurt the mobile music and video streaming subscriptions?

I can see it happening. I was considering paying for Spotify simply to have it on my phone. Then I could stream music at work (where there is no wifi yet). But, I am rethinking that now if my data speeds would be throttled.

As the article states, “the days of all-you-can-eat mobile broadband are already ending, and landline broadband could soon follow suit.” This terrifies me.

Our “landline” broadband at home is, first of all, less than landline. We use Clear for internet (I didn’t want to pay for installation of Comcast of Century Link, or outrageous prices for cable). Clear uses Sprint’s mobile broadband 4G networks as another option to in-home high-speed internet.

Frankly, I am not very enthusiastic about them. We stream a lot of Netflix, since we are without cable. We are more often than not throttled to dial-up speeds (less than 500 kbps). This makes experiencing the internet less than desirable.

That’s why I opt to use my phone’s 3G data rather than my MacBook and wifi. It’s faster and more convenient.

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