I have been realising lately..
Out of everyone I know (friends and clients), I am the only one with any kind of dataplan for a smartphone. Yep, not ONE person uses any kind of data connectivity (UMTS/GPRS) with their phone. The reason seems to be that dataplans are either too expensive, or too difficult to understand the conditions. Even I must keep tabs on how I use my dataplan, as it goes like this:
I pay 10 euros a month for a UMTS/500mb limit.
This works only within my ‘homezone’ which is a virtual (approx) 2km radius around my home. If I am outside this area, I can still connect, but not for the flat 10euro/500mb deal that I have. I must then pay an additional 2 euros per mb, which will be added to my monthly bill (example: last month I used the data connection outside my ‘homezone’, and just collected email and surfed the net a little bit for 7 minutes. cost: 14 euros!) One thing I did try was to create a connection within my ‘homezone’ and leave it connected while moving around the city, as theoretically, the connection was started inside my declared area. This did not work for long, as perma-connected UMTS does not work while getting in and out of underground stations/tube trains etc….damn.
While normally most of my work takes place within the 2km radius, so I do not see any extra data charges at the end of the month, this is still pretty crap. Its no wonder everyone steers clear of those *hidden* costs involved with doing anything data-related on a smartphone (unless of course you have a WiFi equipped phone, like the E61). This is in my opinion the biggest hurdle to advancing the use and take-up of smartphones outside the traditional money-is-no-object enterprise space.
Until the telcos bite the bullet and offer up the same kind of deal/pricing plan as a normal DSL home connection, then true wireless dataroaming will not happen. And so, many potential advancements in mobile computing will be nipped in the bud..