updated 03:15 pm EST, Wed December 16, 2009
Oregon ISP promises 10X higher cap than rivals
Oregon cable provider BendBroadband today stood poised to upturn the cellular data industry by launching its own high-speed 3G service with much higher limits than usual. The HSPA+ network runs at up to 15Mbps, and typically 6-8Mbps, but is most notable for its bandwidth cap. Where most such services limit users to just 5GB of data transfers per month, the company's top-tier $65 monthly service provides 50GB of data and in many cases could use 3G as a primary Internet connection.
The new carrier is also more aggressive with its lower tiers and provides 20GB of data at $45 per month and 2GB of data for $35 per month. AT&T by comparison provides 250MB of data at the $35 price. Overage fees for running past any cap are similarly lower and cost subscribers $1.50 for every gigabyte of use beyond the included transfer limit.
While intended as a means of filling in coverage for those who can't subscribe to Bend's cable service, the move is a symbolic shift away from cellular data as a 'premium' feature and towards its use as a primary service. Sprint and Clearwire are so far the only two major providers to offer more than 5GB per month and take advantage of WiMAX's overhead for their own performance. Other larger carriers aren't likely to expand or remove their caps until the advent of LTE-based 4G in mid-2010 and 2011. [via DSLR]