This week’s announcement by AT&T that it will “throttle” its 3G unlimited data customers down to 2G speed once they consume 3GB of 3G data in a given month is a reminder that network bandwidth is not an unlimited resource (the announcement actually represents a softening of their prior practice of throttling the top 5% of data users). The announcement follows similar policies already in place by Verizon and T-Mobile. Sprint currently does not have a “throttling” policy.
With mobile establishing itself as the dominant digital platform for everything from coupon redemption to more data intensive activities like video downloading, bandwidth limitations and the stress placed upon carrier networks is an issue of concern for the growth of the mobile economy.
Innovation in digital seems largely relegated to platform and app development- because that is what get’s the press – but undoubtedly research is intently underway to find solutions to a potential data transmission problem.
Let’s hope so, because while new hardware and apps are critical to advancement of the digital economy (see my post about the app innovation economy), limitations on data transmission speed could choke off that growth – and that is where innovation is perhaps needed most to ensure a profitable future.