Category Archives: datarates

Why do wireless devices need to be phones?

Wow, Verizon has just made a very important announcement today:

“Verizon Wireless today announced that it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company. Verizon Wireless plans to have this new choice available to customers throughout the country by the end of 2008 …

In early 2008, the company will publish the technical standards the development community will need to design products to interface with the Verizon Wireless network. Any device that meets the minimum technical standard will be activated on the network.”

Here is the takeaway wireless != voice (!!!). It’s much much bigger. Voice is just one little application of a great many that can run on top of a wireless connection.

Here’s the trouble. We, culturally are so biased by the fact that the telephone was accidentally invented a century and a half before today. And this tends to warp our perceptions of debates around whether cell “phone” networks should be available on airplanes or subways, on issues of wireless regulation and spectrum auctions.

The real future is in everything besides voice (you crackberry addicts know this already) and in what are being called “non-traditional network devices”.

Non-traditional network devices include: Amazon’s Kindle reader, (similarly almost any future digital paper or signage device), a dell ultraportable with a 3G network card, a pocket computer and media device like an iPhone, a car that downloads the latest maps and traffic info, a rain coat that knows the weather reports, digital/social jewelry that Michele has a mind for.

We’re prejudiced against so many potential open network things, devices and applications just because many of them haven’t been invented or even envisioned yet.

With apologies for spoonerizing William Gibson: “The distribution has already arrived. The future just isn’t evenly invented yet.”

Thanks to Verizon for starting to make the future inventable.

Lastly, to quote one other author who knows all this stuff already “In the future, I won’t have to look for my shoes in the morning. I’ll just google them.” – Bruce Sterling

Link: Verizon Wireless to Introduce ‘Any Apps, Any Device’ Option for Customers in 2008 – CNN Money

Wireless Data Getting Better in Canada, but a ways to go yet.

Rogers cracks and offers (a rather unheralded) $65 1 gig wireless data plan in Canada. Here’s a link to that plan on a partner site, and apparently if you call rogers their agents will know about the $65 plan (thanks to farhan for the tip). No voice minutes included and plus system access fee, and not unlimited but this is a start.

Rogers’ new plan follows Telus’ introduction of a similar $60 1GB/ $100 unlimited plan (link) and a Bell plan for $75/ 1GB available for PC cards only.

Bell also recently added a mysterious $7/mo and “unlimited” mobile browsing while “However, a customer support representative said you can’t send big attachments with e-mails or download files from websites with the $7 plan”. A prize for anyone who can explain this to me.

And the mainstream media is starting to take notice, both the Toronto Star “Wireless data charges plummet as consumers embrace smartphones” and the Globe & Mail “Canadians pay more for wireless data” have taken note of the issue and a recent Seaboard report on Canadian Wireless.

“Our findings? Data rates in Canada have plummeted in recent months. It is now far more affordable to be a data user in Canada than it was as recently as this past June. Are there other places where you can get even better deals? Yes. The U.S. offers better plans for better rates, and some of the Euro plans, especially in the wake of repricing due to the introduction of the iPhone, are far more attractive than data options available to Canadians.”

So what other gaps remain? Widespread rollouts of highspeed networks have lagged in Canada. And handsets are an issue too. Canadian carriers, can I have my Nokia n-series please?

Updates on data rates.

# the iPhone launches in London today. The kicker: *cough* Unlimited data on all plans. Starting at 35£. There were two iphones and democamp last night, you can unlock them and work them in Canada, though Jevon had smartly turned off EDGE at the border.

# Bell has a new data plan for PC cards, modems and something called Voyageur. That something obviously has something to do with beaver pelts and the market for fur hats. One think is clear, if you are looking for flat rate data on an actual mobile device (RIM/Palm etc.) you are still out of luck. Don’t for get that voice minutes and $9 system access fee is additional.

#Telus now has a $100 plan that gets you a gigabyte/month which is an improvement of sorts though short of a bargain. They’re also offering an odd ball connect day plan with unlimited wireless or hotspot access … any 10 days of the month. What happens on the other days? Maybe we are busy turning into pumpkins.

# Rogers/Fido, still sitting pretty on their GSM monopoly, hasn’t budged an inch. Still at some point I shall have to update my famous bar chart on mobile data rates.

# On Thursday, Pierre Karl Peladeau of Quebecor will be speaking in Toronto [] on ” Why Pay More & Get Less? Taking on Canada’s Protected Wireless Market”. I’ll be bringing coverage.