Should your wireless carrier care what you're saying?

What if your local telephone company charged you differently for different kinds of calls? Suppose they charged a percentage of orders you place with your broker or Land’s End or QVC? Or maybe charged you more if you use a modem? How would that make you feel?
If that sounds invasive, why do we put up with it from our wireless carriers?
While they seem to have given up (for the time being) their dream charging vigorish on Web transactions conducted over cell phones, they’re still desperate to discriminate between voice and data and charge differently for them.
This doesn’t make sense. On digital systems, voice and data are both transmitted as bits. And it’s not obvious, once you think about it for even a moment, that data uses any more bandwidth than voice. Digitized full-duplex voice takes a lot of bandwidth for the entire conversation. The typical online connection (email and web browsing) contains a lot of idle time and the high-bandwidth bursts are probably a lot shorter.
The most likely bandwidth-hogging applications are file downloads and streaming media. These are easily dealt with by charging by the minute, just as you would for long, intensive voice conversations.
There is no excuse for metering wireless digital connections by the byte.
But there is a reason: the wireless carriers spent too much money for spectrum and G3 hardware in anticipation of gouging us. It’s time to allow them to fail.

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