So the “all you can eat buffet” is gone. Since this morning AT&T – the second largest carrier in US – will no longer offer a simple $30 monthly plan for unlimited data use. For now one the new smartphone customers will need to estimate – there is an app for that? I don’t think so #opportunity – how much data they will need and sign up for the data plan that fittest them best.

Most heavy users geeks – aka the earlier adopters on this market – are against it and I agree with them. But first let’s try to understand this situation looking to both sides.

Today we saw at the WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) Steve Jobs releasing the new iPhone 4 with a bunch of new amazing features, like a front-facing camera – also upgraded the old one to a 5mp quality –  and HD quality video recording. So what we are seeing here? yes, the new gadgets are encouraging us more and more to use and depend on largest data plans – the iPad is another recent example. Google is also following the same path with Android and the hole cloud strategy, Microsoft, Yahoo, Nokia, HP and etc all wished to do the same in the nearest possible future – aka as yesterday. Most of the App Store business model success depends on people being able do download and discover new applications anywhere, with the new OS4 those same people will be doing multitasking on the iPhone – listening to Pandora while writing and email for example – this is already a reality for those using Android FroYo. So fact: more data will be used/needed by the current users baseline, period.

Forcing a limited plan will discourage those activities since people will prefer to wait to buy and try new apps when they were connected to a WiFi network. That song you just listened on Pandora will not be bought and that last The Office episode will not be downloaded until you find a trusted hotspot. Less people buying, less attractive this model will become and everyone loses. I mean everyone – the customers will lose new great experiences and features and the internet players and the carriers will lose revenue.

On the other side we have the carriers, some of them dinosaur-companies who lost themselves into the innovation curve and are now dizzy trying to understand what their customers really want. Fighting like hell to not become the future dumb-pipes the telcos are trying to apply for this new market the same formula from the past, underestimate their infrastructure demand and poorly invest on CAPEX and OPEX so they can get their faster paybacks. If anything goes wrong, blame the government for the taxes and let’s go.

This is not going to work, someone needs to assume the risks and heavily invest on their networks – I heard LTE? – and upgrade their capacities. Don’t you get it? more people using it, more you win – the Google’s philosophy. I understand that it’s hard to avoid the dump-pipe scenario but they need a huge invest on innovation and create some “win^3” partnerships – real ones, not this Apple and AT&T iPhone exclusivity contract.

Build and they will come.

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