Help Me Understand

This is an honest question with no sarcasm intended.

I've been reading negative comments about Cricket's 4-for-$100 deal on unlimited plans. The complaints revolve around a bandwidth cap of 3 Mbps.

Apparently this limitation isn't merely one of many considerations that people might take into account, when considering a cellular provider-- it's something that actually angers them in a deeply emotional way and makes the service practically useless, in their opinion.

We use a T-Mobile cellphone as our sole home internet service. Prior to that, however, we were using a 3g Verizon hotspot that only provided 2.2 Mbps of bandwidth-- yet it was more than sufficient for all our needs.

We could stream any video from any service, surf the internet with our various devices, and interact with our smarthome devices, when necessary.

Obviously that one device would not have been sufficient for a family of 5 all streaming different videos while also using other connected devices, but why would a cellphone user need more "on-device" bandwidth than 3 Mbps?

Why do some cellphone users scoff at even 10, 20 or 25 Mbps?

What the heck are people doing with their cellphones that I don't know about?

I can't think of anything I couldn't do, watch or accomplish with 3 Mbps.

What am I missing?

Heavy Gaming Activity (such as well-known online multiplayer) and various intensive tasks such as bitcoin come to mind that would need much more than 3mbps. Especially if more than one was doing those activities at the same time.

Edit: This is also under the assumption that they are using their phone-internet as home internet.

I'll second that question. For several years we used a local direct line of sight wifi broadband company because there was no cable here and the only other option was an expensive hotspot or phone tethering plan. We lived decently with about 2-1/2 mbp down and 1-1/2 up, and the speeds were very consistent and low latency, and there were no data caps. Now we have cable with 100 mbps down and about 12 mbps up, and there certainly is a difference, but the increased speed is not that noticeable for most of our uses. Yes, we were able to stream HD video pretty darn well at 2-1/2 mbps, except for the rare occasion when downloading GBs of data at the same time. So yes 3mbps should be sufficient for most tasks, unless the carrier, in my case Sprint in my area, does not have consistent speeds and low latency. Perhaps because people are bombarded with ads about great data speeds and why they should sign up for this and that plan, many people are unaware of what speeds they actually need.

I am also puzzled.
We tried Basic 3 years ago for home internet, which offered 500mb 4g then unlimited 2g. We could not load email or peruse nth circle posts with this level of service. This year we had access for a short while to tmobile 1gb @ 4g speed then 2g speeds afterwards and were able to make it work although many sites loaded as slow as molasses they did not time out.
Maybe these guys are advertising bandwidth caps but not saying what true bandwidth is.

Sometimes they say "up to" which is scary. Yet speeds on the Sprint network where I'm located fluxuate all day form 3 or 4 up to .50 up, and the high latency here on Sprint will destroy the higher speeds. Here's an article stating how high latency can thwart high speeds.

Some people are more sensitive to speed. Remember a while ago I was saying how slow my kindle fire was and others are happy with them. I use a pixel phone as my main phone so am used to much faster as well.

Probably same with internet speeds.

It is the false perception of 3Mbps is slow. If you don't like it, get off Cricket and get on AT&T prepaid family plan 5 lines for $140 with 8GB data each line. AT&T used to market choice unlimited plan for $60 with 3Mbps speed cap, and they just changed it to without speed cap but being de-prioritized at all time.

I don't do intensive tasks on my phone, but....
I see a difference between my FreedomPop/Sprint line throttled to 1mbps and my FP global line that does about 3 mbps on HSPA+. Past that, speed doesn't seem to make much difference for my usual tasks.

As a comparison, my home ISP changed from 5 mbps to 1 gb-- sites load about 15% faster, at an estimate. (Large downloads or uploads are much quicker, of course.). Picking an efficient browser makes more difference than that-- as it does on my phones.

There's a nasty side effect to having a really fast connection-- if your provider doesn't throttle automatically on video, and you don't take steps on your own, you'll chew through data at an alarming rate when viewing something in HD........not a problem if you have data to burn.

Cricket 3Mbps is better than FP because Cricket has less latency or less Ping. It feels like faster.

Cable companies now offering 100 meg download speed at starter level


very interesting POV, as usual.

Whats the network congestion and density of population of the area like where you are basing your observations off?

When I am in a rural area, my free FP GSM phone makes crystal clear calls and excellent video chats. I also have a portable hotspot that works excellent in that area.

When I enter the city, there is a noticeable drop in the call quality and video chats can sometimes glitch. My portable hotspot also has issues due to interference from people around me.

This hypothesis alongwith the following one could shed light on why people want FASTER connections:

It's possible the ISPs prioritize traffic that come from customers on more expensive (FASTER) plans.

This prioritization does not add a lot of edge to sparsely populated areas but make a significant difference in densely packed ones.

I suspect that provider deprioritization can make a huge difference during congestion. How that's handled seems to be based on the policy of the network, plus possible multiple tiers of ranking for priority. (Major network rate plan differences, prepaid subsidiaries, several tiers of MVNOs, and specific negotiations with individual MVNOs). Information about this seems generally unavailable, other than the frequent notation that it 'might occur'.

subho, I'm curious.... You mention using video chat via your free FreedomPop plan. Can you give me an idea of the data consumption needs of video chat?

Help me understand

I just received two high end phones as Christmas presents from friends: with state of the art cameras ,storage. and recognition capabilities.
Compatible to all four Networks with dual SIM capacity

I sincerely appreciate their kind gestures. But how many of us really need this technology
At some points these phones become an obsession
I’m selling these phones on Ebay and taking my friends out to a fine dinner

You, clearly, have far better friends than I do...

Would they not be insulted to know you sold them and kept the cash and took them to dinner

On the selling part. Many here like swappa. Others here can tell you the advantages over eBay or not

I agree phone got I've seen with permanent batteries. So now they are a commodity

Here's from another person who thinks we should put down our phones and move on to a better future.

"While I won’t posit on the future of mobile tech I will note that until we put our phones away and look at the world anew we will do nothing of note. We can take better photos and FaceTime each other but until we see the limitations of these technologies we will be unable to see a world outside of them."

My wife has redirected my thinking (once again). We’re now going to re-gift the phones for two upcoming relatives’ birthdays. I never opened the boxes.
But I’m still taking my friends out to dinner.

I hope my original post didn’t give the wrong impression. I truly am grateful for all the wonderful things that smartphones can do, but they just ain’t my raison d'etre


I was just asking a question. Not trying to get you to change your mind. Your phones, your choice.

I agree phones are too much everything. Plus to much money.

My birthday is just around the corner.