The Hidden Cost of Unlimited Plans

To say that unlimited wireless plans lead to increased usage of voice minutes and data is obvious, our friends at Techdirt remind us. They argue that the real upside is “new applications and services that simply weren’t possible before,” much like how the move away from a “pay-per-hour solution” helped the Internet bloom. Good point! On the flip side, the wireless carriers are having to hustle to upgrade their backhaul infrastructure.

“What we’re seeing with the Simply Everything product from Sprint and with the rest of the industry is that the increase in unlimited data and voice plans exponentially increases the backhaul requirements of 2G and 3G networks,” Craig Cowden, Sprint’s vice president of cable/VoIP and access strategy, commented during a panel at CTIA Wireless 2008 in Las Vegas, Telecommunciations Magazine reports. As a result, the company is working on getting cable companies and Ethernet-over-copper service providers to switch away from the now archaic T-1 connections to higher speed pipes. In other words, for carriers — unlimited plans do come with a plan.