Amazon offers WiFi-only and 3G versions of its Kindle eReaders. If you pay a little extra for the 3G model, you can download books and other content from anywhere you have a 3G signal for no additional fee.

If you have a Kindle Keyboard 3G, you can also surf the web for free using the Kindle’s experimental web browser. Up until recently, you could browse the web as much as you liked — but it looks like Amazon is now limiting free web browsing over 3G to 50MB per month.

Kindle Keyboard

Members of the MobileRead forum report that once you hit the limit, you’ll see a notice on your Kindle letting you know that you have 24 more hours to use 3G, after which you can continue to use the browser over WiFi.

The move will likely save Amazon a few bucks. The company has been footing the bill for free mobile broadband access, and while occasional web browsing isn’t likely to cost the retailer very much, some users have figured out how to hack the Kindle 3G so it can be tethered to a PC and used as a modem for free 3G access.

That can certainly rack up the bills.

Amazon doesn’t allow free browsing at all on the newer Kindle Touch 3G.

Also — web browsing on an E Ink screen with a slow refresh rate isn’t that much fun anyway. Still, it’s a nice feature to have if you don’t have a smartphone and you occasionally need to check your email or look up a flight departure time when you’re on the go.

via The EBook Reader and The Digital Reader

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8 replies on “Kindle 3G users now have a 50MB/month cap: Goodbye unlimited browsing”

  1. This is so depressing. Mind you I suppose browsing on the kindle probably uses a lot less data than browsing on a laptop anyway. It is a big shame because I bought this specially for an upcoming trip to India. Mind you I suppose most of the places I will be will have some form of wifi but it is still a pity. What is needed is the ability to add apps to the kindle so that ultra light versions of web pages can be made.

  2. Brad, this is limited to usage outside the United States. 50 MB roaming ain’t cheap.

    1. loopyduck, true. Amazon’s website area for Kindle owners who live outside the U.S. is the only place with this new limitation in place. If anyone would like to see much more detail on how it works and a prime reason this happened, besides sky-high roaming charges in other countries, I have an article on it at kindleworld.blogspot.com/2012/07/kindle-news-misleading-info-re-max.html

  3. As usual, the cheap “it’s my device, I can do whatever I want including unethical and possibly illegal things” crowd ruined it for the rest.

    1. This was probably always coming. Also how is it impacting you unless you were a member of the very crowd you’re complaining about?

      1. I don’t have a Kindle and it was a statement about how many people ruin things for others where this post was an example of one. This is just my sentiment on this topic.

        On a related issue that does affect me are the stupid smartphone users who constantly tether their smartphones to PCs and tablets without paying the fees. Now, I can’t keep my existing data plan which includes the tethering fee without having to pay full retail prices on future phones. So I lost the nice upgrade discount perk despite following the carrier’s rules.

        Of course another example that affects me and I’m sure you too, is piracy. All too often I have to jump through hoops to enjoy what I paid for while the pirates continue to as if nothing happened.

        1. Tom, what you’re talking about has far more to do with the telcos wanting to squeeze more money out of customers than it is a few bad apples spoiling it for the rest of us. The shift toward data caps has be hailed by Wall Street as a major driver of future profits given that the markup on bandwidth is only going up as the costs go down.

          They claim the data caps are to alleviate congestion at the same time they’re having to explain to the federal government why they should be allowed to keep their exclusive access to their part of the spectrum even though they’re barely using a quarter of the capacity. AT&T claims that taking over the 4th largest telco would increase competition but they release almost identical data pooling plans as their major competitor does just days afterward. And so on. The US has some of the most expensive 3G/4G data on the planet and yet is struggling to keep up with other nations in terms of speed and availability. The problem of piracy is infinitesimal compared to the amount you’re paying every month just to keep the shareholders happy. And it’s going to get worse.

          1. Kudos on your write-up. You are right on the money. I have family in Europe and they are amazed at the fees we pay (apparently Spain is one exception but still lower priced than the good old USA). The average American spends $650 per year (I find even that statistic rather low) and for example in Sweden the average for the same type of service is $135 per year.

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