We’ve spoken here before about data allowances and how some of the networks have been pushing to monetise data more by giving small allowances with bill pay plans and charging for any extra used. With the recent launch of Netflix I’ve been thinking more and more about our current data allowances.
The Three network in Ireland offers, essentially, unlimited data on both their pre pay and bill pay plans, meteor/emobile offer at least 1GB or more, Vodafone start at about 500mbs while O2 base plans start with as little as 150mbs. After using these allowances up you can purchase more data for a premium. But with the launch of Netflix could we see even more drastic changes to our data allowances? Netflix for those that dont know, is a streaming TV/Movie service just launched in Ireland this week. In the USA as of May 2011 Netflix utilizes 24.71% of all U.S. broadband traffic. The largest single contributor to traffic by almost 10%.
If Netflix is as successful here as it is in the USA then the average users data usage could rise considerably. At present the networks state that the reason they reduce data allowances is to maintain network stability and that most of their users dont need huge allowances but with most smartphones being capable of watching Netflix streams it could seriously put a strain on the networks resources if it becomes popular (and looking at it’s popularity in the USA I cant see how it wont be s popular here in Ireland).
I cant see networks like Three continuing to offer unlimited data allowances in the face of a significant portion of users constantly streaming TV/Movies. Many of the networks may even use Netflix as an excuse to bring in small allowances for their plans in the name of “network stability”. Then offering you higher allowances for a “small” premium. So while I welcome the arrival of Netflix I do worry about the future of our smartphone data allowances. Sound off below in the comments section with your thoughts. Are you concerned too or too busy watching the back catalog of Fawlty Towers?