Yes please

March 28th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Rogers at BusinessDay reports:

Telcos are noncommittal on whether they will follow Canadian provider Rogers Communications in letting customers buy one wireless data plan for all their mobile broadband devices.

That would mean customers would no longer have to buy separate mobile broadband data packs for their smartphones, tablet computers and other gadgets, avoiding having to manage separate plans and potentially saving them money.

Paul Brislen, chief executive of the Telecommunications Users’ Association, said the demand for such a service was gathering momentum.

“We’d be delighted if a provider would offer that. I’d probably switch to it. People are moving on to smartphones and multiple devices and this is one of the things they’re all asking for – one pack to rule them all.”

Yes please. I’m not that unusual in that I have mobile data for my laptop, Blackberry and iPad. A data plan which grouped them all together would be superb. In fact I’d probably even swap providers for it.

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20 Responses to “Yes please”

  1. wreck1080 (3,520 comments) says:

    I wonder how they would prevent fraud.

    eg, you could get ten of your mates together, order the most expensive plan, and have cheap wireless for all.

    You gotta trust your mates though.

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  2. Grendel (873 comments) says:

    that would be great if telecom does it. I don;t use my Tstick much but its really useful when i do, but use my phone a lot. One plan would make it all a bit better and cheaper.

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  3. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    A great idea for the consumer of the service. Where is the value for the provider?

    Incidentally the technology piece is really quite simple – the idea of ‘data buckets’ across an enterprise, for example, have been around for some time, so it is as ‘simple’ as linking each of your devices under that main wireless data billing structure.

    The question is what’s in if for the telcos? Perhaps if the consumer committed to a larger bucket of data, but could then use it across all devices – that keeps the telco’s revenue stream up and give the consumer more optimal use of the data they have paid for.

    (As a side note: under the ‘data bucket’ approach, a monthly access fee is still charged for each device. That is still a commercial construct as opposed to a technical limitation of course.)

    [DPF: The value for the provider is to gain customers by doing it]

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  4. KH (686 comments) says:

    Lots of people are using mobile data of course. Regularly I ask people what that costs monthly. (ie. what the actual bill is – not what the ‘plan’ is) Never yet have I had a coherent reply. Not once. People don’t know what that device in their pocket costs. Meaning that theTelcos are running their business on that prime commercial method – ignorance and stupidity. (Call it the ‘Theresa Gattung principal’.) Or on that other great commercial looting method – somebody else is paying so why care. (as led by our noble troughers — the MPs)

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  5. dime (8,745 comments) says:

    makes sense. would lock you in to one provider. would also make you more valuable to that one provider.

    my new phone will work as a wifi hotspot. havent tried it yet though. thought id give it a nudge next time i was stuck in a hotel. save myself 20 bucks

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  6. djg (72 comments) says:

    The new iPhone software allows you to use it as a hotspot for 4 devices, this means you can achieve what you want now.

    Not sure if the crapberry allows it yet.

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  7. buffalobob (14 comments) says:

    You only need 1 device now …. the Iphone…. with the latest software update it is transformed into a wireless hotspot….no need for a vodem or a 3g ipad or any other data plan..

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  8. Peter (1,468 comments) says:

    Really?

    How do you do this on an iphone?

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  9. gravedodger (1,426 comments) says:

    Only use Telecom and am not a happy chappie.
    Monthly plan at home $130 pm for internet, tolls and landline, acceptable.
    To get internet while traveling in mobile home another $30 pm and that often is $60 as the time of travel straddles two part months, and the home fee is wasted ie not used.
    Rural coverage, not remote places, for the XT Tstick is appalling even though that nice Mr Renyolds apparently gets good service in the Greenstone while he is fishing. We can’t access the Net just 5 Kms west of CHC where we store the van and use it as a townhouse, is extremely marginal for the cdma phone and completely no go for the Tstick
    Try to find anyone in Telecome who is not DILLIGAF is a complete joke.

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  10. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    [DPF: The value for the provider is to gain customers by doing it]

    That is not much value to a Telecom or Vodafone – they already have the bulk of the customers. It would take a very large number of customers switching for each of them to offset the reduced revenue from the new charging plan across all of their customers.

    The reality is that this would not create new customers in the market place. What it would do is create some churn between the players and the larger players would have a net revenue erosion as they would have reduced plans for all customers while only seeing a (relative) few switch from their competitor to them.

    As long as that is the case, neither of the two big players are likely to leap at the idea. And the coverage and/or wholesale deals for the other providers will not provide the leverage for them to do this and make any money out of it.

    (The providers using another company’s network are in an even potentially worse position as it is quite likely that they are reliant on the form and structure of how Voda or Telecom provide them billing records to determine exactly how they can or cannot bill their customers – i.e. if the two big players don’t issue them the data in a way that supports the ‘data bucket’ type approach it may make it very difficult to impossible for that mobile retail provider to construct and end user bill to do that.)

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  11. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    djg,

    You mean that the new iPhone software enables the phone act as a wireless access point and router? Now that is pretty cool.

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  12. reversespin (65 comments) says:

    Sounds positive, but i would be wary of using Rogers, the Candian telco, as a role model. I was living there for a while and it is a virtual monopoly with very high charges (costs money to RECIEVE texts) and poor coverage.

    Rogers cites simlilar cost issues as NZ as reasons…..low population density, difficult terrain etc.

    End result is that Canadians get shafted by their major telco provider…..and they know it.

    That being said, a combined mobile data plan is logical. Even if it had a convenience premium, I would consider it.

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  13. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    I have also also been travelling with a laptop and wished my broadband allowance from the home account could be tapped into while mobile.

    Haven’t gone the smartphone route yet. Intending to get full value out of my existing phone before I spend money on another. However when I do I will make sure that it can act as a hotspot or at least be tetherable so that when I need a bigger screen I don’t need a separate wireless broadband device (e.g. T-Stick) with its extra costs. Plenty of phones allow it, though 2 degrees seem to be one of the few that market it.

    I know they are separate networks with separate costs and they have to be paid for somehow, but at the end of the day the broadband all goes through the same servers to access the same content. I think one broadband allowance able to be tapped into by multiple devices would be a point of difference that would attract customers. So I guess 2 degrees will be the first to do it!

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  14. brucehoult (185 comments) says:

    > I wonder how they would prevent fraud.
    > eg, you could get ten of your mates together, order the most expensive plan, and have cheap wireless for all.

    Where is the fraud?

    Why do larger plans cost less per GB than smaller ones?

    The only reasonable argument for it is that only a component of the plan goes to paying for the actual use and the rest goes to maintaining the customer relationship, billing, chasing up late payers etc.

    If there is only one customer relationship costing the telco money and you and your mates sort out who pays what between you then it seems perfectly fair to me.

    I’ve been doing this for a number of years with my TelstraClear cable modem, supplying internet (and phone) to a mate who lives 1200m away across a valley. Together we can afford a cheaper plan than we each could alone (plus he can’t get cable there anyway).

    This would be unfair to the provider if it was an “unlimited” plan for a fixed price, but those are a terminally stupid idea anyway.

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  15. Grendel (873 comments) says:

    actually bruce, if you live in churton park i think you also provide free wireless to everyone in the neighbourhood as well from the number of times an unsecured wireless network called brucehoult pops up :)

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  16. brucehoult (185 comments) says:

    As a number of people have mentioned, iPhone OS 4.3 allows you to set an iPhone 4 (but not earlier models with different radio hardware) up as a personal WIFI hotspot serving several computers etc. Of course you’ve been able to do this to a single computer using a USB cable or Bluetooth for nearly two years (since iOS 3.0 I think).

    Android 2.2 (Froyo) got the same ability a few months earlier.

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  17. brucehoult (185 comments) says:

    Grendel .. I think you’ll find it’s called bruce@hoult.org, and I keep an eye on how much traffic it does and it’s insignificant :-)

    I see an AllanEEEPc or something like that on it from time to time. Not you by any chance?

    The one across to Grenada is called TractorBeam (it’s on 5 GHz).

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  18. Grendel (873 comments) says:

    yes bruce that was my eeepc. don;t live there anymore, but occasionally when on the net our wireless connection (in the lounge that we could see) would crap itself and the comp would latch on to yours (which could be anywhere and seems better than our one). my phone does it sometimes when i visit as well.

    i am ashamed to say some TV we got was provided by you before we realised the computer had changed connections. Not sure if the exes machine still does it though.

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  19. wreck1080 (3,520 comments) says:

    Bruce, you may be breaching the terms of your ISP contract. Did you check ?

    Larger plans cost less per gb due to price marketing. This is one of the most effective ways of selling – buy one for $100, buy 2 for $150. McDonalds does it through upsizing. Maybe i don’t get the question?

    Maybe not fraud to register your mates cellphones as part of a universal data allowance, but certainly would breach the contract terms.

    I wouldn’t want to be a provider in this day and age. People will not spend more on extra telecommunications services, but constantly demand more data / better functionality. Then, throw in 2-degrees and telecom/vodafone are not looking flash.

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  20. brucehoult (185 comments) says:

    wreck1080, yes I checked. I even talked to a rather senior person at the ISP who said “Knock yourself out. As long as you pay your bills we don’t care if you supply internet to your whole neighbourhood”.

    Feel free to peruse:

    http://www.telstraclear.co.nz/company-info/terms-and-conditions/inhome.cfm
    http://www.telstraclear.co.nz/company-info/terms-and-conditions/internet-services.cfm
    http://www.telstraclear.co.nz/company-info/terms-and-conditions/clearnet-acceptable-use.cfm

    I certainly can’t find anything there. In particular the acceptable use policy make no mention whatsoever about who you may allow to use your connection or any limit to the amount of traffic you may use — as far as I can tell you’re welcome to saturate the link 24/7 as long as you pay for all those gigs. Which at 15 Mbps could be 5000 GB/month, costing $7500.

    You could of course have problems if someone was using the connection for illegal purposes, but that applies equally in, say, a flatting situation.

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