Connect with us


Right Hand Left Hand: Bandwidth Caps and Advertising



So, I’m just curious here. Everyone who is pushing anything in the mobile scene always utters one big word. That one big word is advertising. It can be argued that iPads and Tablet/Slates are basically being positioned as new advertisement delivery mechanisms, given that we’ve developed a culture that is hesitant to pay for content and applications these days. OK, that’s all well and good and that’s the way things are going.

But on the other hand, we see, at least here in the good old US of A, bandwidth providers trying to find ways to make some hay out of all that mobile traffic, while at the same time protecting their networks that they admit have trouble handling the service they advertise. These experiments range from caps, to tiered pricing, to throttling. AT&T famously got rid of “unlimited” with its data plans last week. And there’s a rumor about that says Sprint is going to try throttling back the speed of heavy users on its new 4G network and devices. It leaves users asking, “please sir, can I have some more.” Notice something very intriguing here. No one is offering an unlimited plan, even at a much higher price. Why is that? Because the Telcos know users will opt for it, and they don’t want that.

So, here’s the right hand, left hand conundrum. As Apps and services start serving us ads that are designed on fancy new platforms like iAds with video and sharp graphics for screens that are eye poppingly gorgeous, isn’t that going to eat into our bandwidth allotment? To what degree this could happen I don’t really know. I doubt advertisements will ever be excluded, but in essence we’ll be getting something we didn’t ask for crawling along the Broadband pipe to our device, and paying for it nonetheless. It sure will make an interesting situation if someone has one of the lower tiered plans and goes over because of some fancy new car ad, now wouldn’t it?

I’m just asking.



  1. the weakonomist

    06/13/2010 at 12:40 pm

    I’ll add that AT&T is one of the iAds clients. I’ll bet they’re working on data heavy ads as we speak.

  2. MobileITstudents

    06/13/2010 at 12:54 pm

    To keep perspective though, the applications or websites that use add are typically provided for free or a discounted price, so the content that is delivered is paid for by the user by viewing these adds, and paying for the bandwidth needed to provide these adds. I you have a higher priced app with no add, you have paid upfront for a more streamlined experience.

    This could be argued on desktop computers. When I load up gottabemobile and I see add, should I think, hey! Comcast is limiting me to 250gb’s and I did not want to waist my bandwidth on these adds! I just wanted to read the articles or access for forums…..but the adds support the articles and forums, so in order to have this information available to me at no extra cost, I need to pay for the bandwidth needed to load the wen site, adds included…..unless of course I’m usin a add blocker or a rss reader, which perhaps is why nyt’s is raiding against rss new aggregators l as it cut there advertising out and stops them from getting paid for there views.

    • Darren

      06/13/2010 at 3:02 pm

      You get 250GB/month? You lucky bum! I’m stuck here in Canada with 30GB/month; higher options are available with up to 125GB, but are ridiculously expensive.

      You shouldn’t be worried about ads with 250GB to burn. I have friends who have the same ISP as me and are getting by with the basic package that limits you to 3GB/month.. 3!!

      There seems to be a trend, where they keep pushing that you can have more speed, but what is the point of having f1-esque speed when we can’t enjoy it…


      • MobileITStudents

        06/13/2010 at 3:43 pm

        I never come close to my data cap, so that’s not what I’m worried about. It’s more about the point I was trying to make that advertisements are a part of the content you are looking for, because with-out advertisements, the content would not even be available with a unlimited/super fast FREE connection.

        My first post is filled with errors and typo’s, sorry about that ;-)

  3. GoodThings2Life

    06/13/2010 at 5:56 pm

    I will always choose services that grant me CHOICE. This is why I have always avoided companies like AT&T and Apple, and fans of those companies can argue all they want, but what makes Apple good is that it’s a company that what you see is what you get. If that’s good enough for you, so be it, more power to you.

    But for someone like me, it’s not good enough. I seek freedom of choice and options. Even if Sprint throttles their network, they’re not cutting you off at the knees. They’re asking you to slow down a bit so that you’re not being greedy.

    That said, I’m a Zune Pass subscriber. I love the subscription model, and I don’t mind paying for a premium service. Never have, never will. I also don’t mind playing it smart and using wi-fi instead of 3G/4G when appropriate.

    I do believe that there will always be businesses that will serve up content and services in a way that customers really want.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This article may contain affiliate links. Click here for more details.