Nearly two years ago, AT&T and other U.S. mobile providers began implementing monthly data limits. Representatives from mobile companies pointed to web radio listening as one of the culprits of high data usage (more here) and observers worried such caps would impede the growth of mobile Internet radio.
Since then though, the growth of mobile web radio has "pretty much quashed the concerns from two years ago," writes respected industry journalist Sean Ross.
Likewise, Pandora CFO Steve Cakebread recently said "the impact of data caps for Pandora listeners is almost non-existent." More than half of Pandora's listening now happens on a mobile device (RAIN coverage here). Other web radio services have an even higher percentage of mobile listeners.
However, Ross did find that those in the industry who tune in to radio for a living can run up against carrier's data limits. He recently received a notice from AT&T that he was in the top 5% of data users. "I can say that there are more occasions when I ask myself if streaming is really worth it," he writes, but notes that "none of these are likely concerns for a civilian listener."
Ross points to other annoyances about streaming AM/FM in general, including awkard and at times "unlistenable" stopsets and the difficultly of finding which app offers a particular station's stream (iHeartRadio? Radio.com? Some other aggregator?).