Yes, it’s a Data Cap, a very literal and somewhat sad representation of what our data providers use to shamelessly screw more money out of us all. I’ll keep the rant short, don’t worry.
So let’s see, I pay for 10GB of mobile data every month. Whatever data allowance I don’t use in a given month is simply thrown away, and the next month I’m starting with a fresh 10GB allowance again. Go over that figure and I pay heavily, typically $10 for each 1GB (or partial GB) over the allowance.
At my home I have Cable Internet from Xfinity. It’s nice and fast, but Xfinity have recently started enforcing data limits. My 50MBps line has, as I recall, a 300GB monthly limit on it, after which Comcast (Xfinity) will charge me a somewhat more reasonable $10 for an addition 50GB. But again, if I don’t use the 300GB that I have paid for, the ‘balance’ is thrown away.
Before unlimited voice was a more affordable option for cell phones, a similar problem existed with the “minutes per month” contract, where the overage fees were positively punitive. I seem to recall AT&T was the only one of the big four US players to offer rollover minutes, which were incredibly useful.
When I buy a meal in a restaurant and I don’t finish it, I can get a To Go box and take the rest home with me to eat later.
So why doesn’t this work with data plans? Mmm? Perhaps I get it. The idea is, I suppose, that you pay an amount per month that really is aimed to giving you about 50% of what you “pay” for, and the companies figure that on average half the people will use less than 50% of their allotted data, and half will use over, so on average everybody uses, say, 5GB of mobile data, but pays for what they’re told is “10GB”. But if I were truly paying for 10GB of capacity on the network, surely I’ve paid for a service and I get to take any leftovers home (so to speak) and use it when it’s convenient?
And don’t start me on “unlimited” plans which use drastic rate-limiting to effectively implement a cap on your data. I understand why unlimited is bad for providers (there will always be those that abuse it), but seriously…
Anybody from the mobility industry want to step up and defend this practice? Yeah, I thought not.