You would pay three times as much per month and only be able to be connected to the internet for 900 minutes out of the month except during certain times of the day and you would be billed by the minute every additional minute you were online. You would be charged extra fees for being allowed to use email and instant messages and have limited numbers of messages you could you could send without incurring penalties. Your usage would be limited by not just the capacity of your connection, but also by how much actual data you transfer so if you download or upload too much in that 900 minutes, you get billed again (and the limit is around the size of a few dozen youtube videos). Furthermore you are billed more for communicating to people with other internet providers or people you aren’t related to (as an incentive to make everyone you know use your provider) and you are also billed whether you are over your allotted minutes or bandwidth if you email or instant message someone in another country or visit the website of anyone from another country.
Wouldn’t that be insane?
In the age of the smart phone where phones are essentially just mobile computers and you are essentially just paying to access a network just like your internet connection, why in the world do phone companies have that kind of control to nickel and dime you to death and limit your activity instead of just charging you a flat fee to access the network and letting you do whatever the hell you want? The reason is phone companies aren’t doing it, “the” phone company is.
Normally if you don’t like the service you get at one company you can switch to some other company so to keep you happy they have to offer the best possible service at the lowest possible rates. But nearly all the phone companies operate under the same corporate umbrella – pretty much no matter what phone company you have it’s probably AT&T by another name. By letting companies own and control “other” companies we’ve created a mirage of competition instead of the real thing. This is the corporate history of AT&T after it was broken up for being a monopoly:
It was broken up into lots of smaller groups, which have since then mostly consolidated back into a few gigantic companies.
That is why you’re not paying $19.95 a month for unlimited everything on your smart phone. There isn’t much competition, so they just collectively price gouge instead of cutting their rates to compete.