Recently I switched to O2 (Ireland) in order to be able to replace my aging Sony Ericsson t610 (workhorse!) with a k800i (Ã¼ber-phone!). Vodafone will probably release the same handset at some undefined date in the distant future but their customer service was completely incompetent in dealing with my queries.
Anyway, the k800i is a full on 3G phone – video calling, mobile email, blog-this-photo – lots of features I have no immediate plans to use (and it turns out lots of features that the O2 configuration & network do not support ‘out-of-the-box’). It does support RSS feeds though and that will be useful to me for a number of reasons. Plus it can run Opera Mini so I use it occasionally to get my PVR (EyeTV+Mac) at home to record tv programs via TVTV mobile.
I’d use it a lot more for data were it not for the incredibly expensive data pricing plans that O2 have in place. 1c per kB (O2 refer to them as ‘kb’s – I hope to God they don’t mean kilobits!) is the default rate. So, that 21kb BBC News RSS feed that SonyEricsson pre-install (actually a wrapper feed URL that is not accessible from full internet browsers?) costs 21c for every update. It gets better though – downloading a single MP3 (say a conservative 3000kB) would cost you, wait for it, 3000c = â‚¬30 for the data alone. Hahah, you’re having a laugh O2, no wonder nobody uses these services.
A lot of people in Japan buy not only digital (music, games, videos) but “real” or “offline” goods on their mobile. They use auction services, blogs and use assisted-GPS powered navigation services to walk the city. And they have been doing so for already 2-3 years, at least. Market maturity is not only about getting a device in people’s hand, it is also about the service offering and the actual usage rate.
But you don’t even need to go to the orient to find examples. T-Mobile UK offer flat rate unlimited internet access (with fair use policies) for around an additional Â£7.50 a month.
In Ireland, it’s like the switch from dial-up to broadband internet access all over again. Except in this case there are no excuses like decades of underinvestment in infrastructure or a low density population. Nope, we just have a duopoly that just like to charge extortionate prices for services that are way behind those offered in rival information societies.
Ireland an Information Society? My ass.