Dec 3rd, 2010

verizon4g

The big story has been Verizon’s 4G LTE, lately, and while it’s great to hear of the cities getting it and great to know that there are MiFi devices out ready to take advantage of it, we really just want to know how fast it really is. PC Mag decided to do some usage testing to figure out how fast you could consume data using Verizon’s network, which would in turn tell you how fast you’ll need to fork over an extra $10 if you hit that 5GB cap.

They claim to have hit the theoretical max of 21 Mbps – doing what, where, and when, they didn’t say – but that’s not what matters here: what matters is how fast you can hit that data cap before this stuff REALLY starts getting expensive. At those speeds, you’d be eating up your monthly allowance of 5GB in just 32 minutes. Ouch. Knocking it down a notch, if you were streaming HD Netlfix content – which eats up 3.8Mbps – you’ll hit the cap in just under 3 hours. And streaming Hulu content at 1Mbps will take you just under half of a day.

While we imagine folks won’t have an issue hitting their cap in everyday moderate usage once 4G LTE phones are on the market (which, for now, we’ll assume will have capped data plans), those who might rely on their phones as mobile hotspots will need to use it sparingly. There have been many instances where I’ve needed to use my phone as a mobile hotspot for long periods of time and even just browsing the web eats up a lot of bandwidth. Throw in a few quick trips to YouTube and you might be in trouble. Don’t expect to do any heavy lifting over Verizon’s network if you don’t have the extra money to throw at them.

How do you guys feel about this? Mobile data caps are nothing new, but does a pay-per-gigabyte model really make sense? Would you much rather prefer to be throttled? Verizon says that as their network will evolve, so may the pricing model. Let’s hope they ease up on their overage model before they turn too many folks away.

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