Random thoughts from an unusual company

A tale of technology, optimism and shocking data roaming charges

Gabriella Davis  28 February 2009 16:46:11
I don't go anywhere without my Blackberry.  I've had one for about 5 years and because of our support contracts I need to be contactable via email anytime anywhere in the world.  For years we have had a contract with O2 where for an additional 20GBP per month we get unlimited worldwide data and that works beautifully.

Last year Tim discovered the iPhone and feel deeply and irrevocably in love.  His Blackberry was cruelly cast aside and rejected in favour of the multiple pains of non-syncing address books / calendars and imap mail.  Unfortunately there's no unlimited roaming data option with the iPhone from O2, it's charged per MB.   We tried travelling , me with my BB and him with his iPhone just using wireless connectivity when he was within range to check mail (he doesn't have the same need for immediate mail as I do).  

Clearly that's not an acceptable replacement for the BB solution though so we decided to run a data experiment during Lotusphere and the week after.  For those 2 weeks, Tim used his iPhone as he would his Blackberry, he checked his mail every couple of hours, browsed the internet a bit and that's pretty much it.   This week the bill for that data arrived from O2 - charged at 10 USD per MB his data cost for those 2 weeks was 400GBP !   .  

So an interesting experiment which won't be repeated. The only remaining hope Tim has to keep his iPhone for roaming is if we take out an AT&T contract on our US address for an iPhone SIM he can swap out when in the US.  Of course that doesn't cover Europe.  And it means a different phone number.

Roaming data charges are clearly a racket the phone companies need taking to task over but until they are, Blackberry has been given a distinct advantage.
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