For the past few years one of the biggest iPhone rumors out there has been the addition of 4G connectivity. Now, with 4G already powering the latest generation of iPads, it seems more than likely that the iPhone will finally get a taste of the next-generation of cellular networks. Obviously the 4G speeds are awesome, but when you weigh everything that comes along with it, is a 4G-equipped iPhone really a good idea?
To be clear, my worries with the concept of a 4G iPhone really have nothing to do with the actual device, but how that device will be treated by cell carriers. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that it won’t be great… I mean, just look at how the new iPad has been faring. The speeds are great while they last, but customers are running through their allotted data much faster than they did on 3G, and are stuck on WiFi or paying overage charges for a majority of the month.
By now I’m sure most people have gotten more data-conscious and have begun to limit what they do while connected to cellular data, but the fact that such monitoring is necessary is definitely a bummer.
What’s more, I, like many of you, am grandfathered into an unlimited data plan on a carrier that no longer offers such a thing. If the next iPhone comes out as a 4G device, I fear that the only way to upgrade would be to sign a new, 4G plan, relinquishing my unlimited data plan. And looking at the new iPad, it doesn’t seem like Apple will release a 4G and non-4G version of the iPhone, so it’ll be a choice between sticking with a better data plan with an older phone, or going with an awesome new phone but having to live with a restrictive data plan.
4G and unlimited data plans were made for each other. To take unlimited data plans out of the equation would be tantamount to serving french fries with no ketchup – they’re still good, but definitely missing something. The only real way to enjoy complete freedom with an iPhone running on a 4G network would be to have it running on Sprint’s 4G network, as Sprint is the only carrier (at least in the US) that offers both the iPhone an unlimited data plans.
Another alternative to the capped data plans is to buy a personal hotspot. These are available from a number of different carriers and independent companies and can give you super speedy internet everywhere, as long as you’re willing to carry the actual hotspot around with you.
Now, to be fair, I’ve never owned a 4G device so my worries are purely speculative. If you’re currently rockin’ a different 4G gadget on a carrier with data restrictions, how does that work for you? Are you able to surf the web and use apps without worrying about hitting your data limit, or do you have to keep track of how much data you use in order to avoid going over a limit?
Can you guys think of any other way to bypass the carrier restrictions and enjoy a 4G iPhone limit-free? Let me know in the comments section below or on twitter!