Is mobile video being stunted by data caps?

I remember when the mobile internet first launched, and I was on a Vodafone contract. The pricing wasn’t the clearest, and after using a painfully slow connection for a month was horrified to learn that I had racked up a huge bill! I stopped using the mobile internet for a while after that, and it took a fair period of abstinence before clearer, more affordable pricing tempted me back online.

That seems like an age ago now, but are we running the risk of having a similar situation now with mobile video?

As more people stream video across 3G, the networks are increasingly finding it hard to cope. I read somewhere that one person streaming one 30 second video on 3G was the equivalent of every single person in Newcastle sending a text message at the same time.

The reaction to this from the networks has been not to increase capacity, but to restrict consumers on how much data they are allowed before incurring additional charges. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that if you watch a lot of video, there could be a nasty surprise in your next bill. I have no idea if increasing capacity is even an option to be fair, but the net result of these data caps is surely going to be consumers will be more careful about what they watch, and probably chose not to watch snack video content?

What do you think? Is this a serious barrier for the mobile video business?

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