Recently, Verizon Wireless announced a new data plan for its BlackBerry Curve 3G smartphone – dubbed the ‘Social Messaging Data Package.’ This plan is only $10/month, which is about 1/3rd the price of a normal data plan, but it severely limits the user. You get 75MB of data (PLEASE stop offering consumers bucket data plans – they’re impossible for consumers to understand), as well as full access to Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. You also get full access to BlackBerry Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, and Windows Live Messenger. It sounds like a great deal, especially if you’ve got a teenager who pretty much only needs that level of access, but it’s the first step towards a very frightening mobile future.
Here’s the problem: Essentially, Verizon has said, ‘If you only pay us $10, we only give you access to these sites that we’ve chosen. If you want access to more sites, you need to pay us more.’ With the major carriers in the U.S. gradually moving away from unlimited data plans, this further restriction is very worrisome. It’s a clear backwards move for the industry, and not something we as consumers should take lightly. I’ve always been a huge proponent of unlocked phones that are free from the restrictions placed on them by the carriers and this is a great reason why.
What do you think? Are you concerned about the level of control that the major carriers are starting to exert over our devices and how we use them?