Yesterday I outlined 7 Wireless Data Cap Losers and today I thought I would explore the flipside – in other words, who might win as a result of carriers becoming far stingier with their bandwidth allotments. After all, devices are becoming far more powerful and quad-core tablets and smartphones could become the norm by the middle of next year if not sooner. So with all this power and limited supply of bandwidth, how might user behavior change?
Here is my list of the 7 wireless data cap winners.
- Cable companies have deployed WiFi throughout the US thanks to technology from companies like BelAir Networks – now part of Ericsson. And in order to use these networks, cable companies simply ask that you continue to use their services – at least for now. So the move made by AT&T and soon others to reduce available wireless bandwidth will no doubt have consumers thinking twice before cutting their cable cords and potentially switching to FiOS or U-verse.
- Hotel WiFi networks generally aren’t that great and quite often are eclipsed by the speed of 4G and even 3G and potentially 2G networks. The worst part of it all is you can’t tell just how bad a hotel WiFi network is until you pay for it – a frustrating situation for business travelers to deal with. But still, hotels will likely see increases in WiFi usage which one hopes will lead them to spend more money on their bandwidth.
- Boingo/iPass should be beneficiaries of wireless bandwidth caps as both services allow users to quickly access a number of global WiFi networks available in many airports and other areas of high foot traffic. Many companies will likely see subscriptions to these services as a great alternative to relying fully on Verizon, AT&T and others. I have used both services and they are both quite useful.
- Starbucks will become that much more desirable to users looking to escape bandwidth caps from carriers and we can expect users to wait till they are near the ubiquitous coffee shop before downloading large attachments, photos, etc. Ditto for McDonalds and other establishments offering free wireless bandwidth.
- Slacker Radio has the ability to download hours of music on numerous stations allowing a customer to suck up content over WiFi, listen and then sync favorites and disliked content when on a WiFi network. For $9.95/month Slacker Premium Radio lets you download 25 stations worth of content and fill your favorite device with music which you can enjoy offline.
- Sirius XM Radio saw a huge threat from Pandora and other streaming radio stations but in a world where listening to excess music could actually slow everything else you do down, we can expect users to explore options. And one of these is satellite radio which uses no bandwidth at all – just a satellite antenna.
- Apple iTunes loses revenue to streaming radio apps like Spotify and Slacker because both services allow users to play specific music on demand meaning they don’t need to purchase individual songs. But when the bandwidth is no longer all you can eat, it becomes cheaper to buy than to rent from the cloud. Advantage Apple iTunes and Amazon MP3 downloads.