Monday, March 3, 2008
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Smartphone Talk" @ 08:00 AM
First, you have to pick a plan for your phone minutes, voice mail, etc. The plans range from $20 per month (for 200 minutes total airtime) up to their $100 per month "high usage" account which gives you 1000 daytime minutes and unlimited evenings and weekends. For the sake of argument, I let's pick the plan that I'm on (yes, unfortunately I'm a Fido customer): $30/month for 100 daytime minutes, unlimited evenings and weekends. Tack on the 50 cent "911 emergency service" fee, the $6.95 "system access fee", the $5 "expanded network access" (which allows me to connect to Rogers cell towers - yeah, they're the same company, and I have to pay for this privilege). So now you're at $42.45 per month, for 100 daytime minutes. Oh, you want voice mail and some data? For $18/month, the "value" pack I have, I get voice mail and 12, count 'em 12 whole megabytes of data transfer per month. Believe it or not, I was happy when they introduced this plan, because previously I was paying $25/month for three, count 'em three megabytes of data transfer. Ok, so you're now paying $60.45 per month and you have 12 MB of data transfer. That's good for average twice-daily ActiveSync sessions, and minimal email usage. Don't you dare fire up Windows Live Search, or browse more than WAP sites, or you'll be paying for it - literally.
Did I mention that if you had a non-Windows Mobile handset for $7 per month you'd get unlimited browser surfing? Yeah, it sucks to be using Windows Mobile sometimes, because the mobile carrier punishes you for it.Oh, what's this? Fido has a Windows Mobile package? Surely that must be some sort of great bundle that will let people use their Windows Mobile devices the way they were meant to be used - as rich-client data devices - all for a reasonable fee. So what is it? Unlimited email....but only to/from a Yahoo.ca, Yahoo.com, Gmail, Sympatico, Videotron, Rogers Yahoo, Telus, Shaw, Cogeco, Hotmail, Live, or MSN account. Got a custom domain, especially if you're a business user? Tough - no unlimited email for you. So how much do you pay for this "awesome" service? $15 per month, and they give you a whopping 2 MB of additional data. $25 per month gets you 4 MB, and $40 per month gets you 8 MB. Oh, and it's $10 per MB after that. What's that? You did the math and figured out the $18/month "value" pack with 12 MB is a much better overall deal? Shh - don't tell other Fido customers that - especially since they no longer offer that exact option (don't you love it how they do that?).
Once again you have a scenario where Microsoft releases a solid, functional phone OS, OEMs release great phones like the Motorola Q9h and the Samsung JACK, and the mobile carrier destroys the entire value proposition by making the phone so expensive to use the way in which it was designed that customers either buy the phone and can't use it to it's full potential, or they get an LG Chocolate instead and ignore the Windows Mobile option. Motorola, Samsung, HTC - all the players involved can make all the great phones they want, but ultimately mobile carriers like Fido can choke the products out of existence with pricing - and that's exactly what they're doing here.
Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys mobile devices, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog. He wishes someone would compete with Fido and Rogers to give Canadians more value for their money.
- Discuss [10 replies]