All week long at Mobile World Congress the impact of cheaply available wireless broadband was evident. From the folks who were broadcasting live with 3G wireless camera phones, to people uploading constant streams of photos from the show floor, and even the Microsoft group promoting mobile broadband PC’s, it was clear that inexpensive mobile broadband is a paradigm shifting technology. People use phones as media creation and consumption devices, and not just communications devices when broadband data is cheap.
And how cheap is cheap? Our merry band of bloggers went out on the first day and bought Yoigo SIM cards, which offered us unlimited mobile data for a paltry €1.50 per day. Martin Geddes informed me that he was paying just £12.50 per month (about $25) for 3GB of data. iPhone unlimited in the United States includes voice and data for $70.
Cheap is unlimited data for $25 to $50 per month.
As the week wore on, I despaired that these services would ever come to Canada. After all, a single photograph shot with my N95 is nearly a megabyte in size. Four minutes of video shot on my Nokia N95 results in a file of between 80 and 90 megabytes in size. My $100 per month data plan, however, is capped at 200 megabytes with overage billed at $.05 per kilobyte. That 90M video would use up nearly half of my data allowance for a month.
Will Canadians be left behind?
Maybe not. I discovered today that both Rogers and Bell have recently introduced 1G data plans. They seemed to have been rolled out quietly in the last few weeks. In fact, the service rep at Rogers went to great pains to tell me that this plan is a special promotion! Rogers’ plan is $65/month for 1GB of data. I added it to my account immediately. With 1GB of data, I can shoot over 1,000 photographs and upload them in a month, or even shoot some short video clips and upload those. Moreover, with my N95’s WiFi, I can stretch that further by uploading non time-sensitive data in hot spot locations only.
There’s hope yet. $65 for a gigabyte is a good start. The best part? My friendly Rogers rep broadly hinted that there was more good stuff coming shortly.