Blog - Unity Behind Diversity

Searching for beauty in the dissonance

Tagged: wind mobile

WIND Mobile Launches Reasonable Data Plans In Canada

WIND Mobile’s pricing plans brought a breath of fresh air to the Canadian wireless landscape last December, but customers have been asking for less expensive data. WIND offered a great $35/month unlimited data add-on, but nothing below that for general purpose data.

Well, today, WIND announced new data add-ons. Just like their voice plans (and unlike what I was used to with Rogers), WIND’s data add-ons are brilliantly simple and easy to understand.

Here’s my take:

Add-On Social Charged Infinite
Cost $10/month (+ overage)
 
$20/month (+ overage)
 
$35/month. Period.
 
Data Included 50 MB/month
 
500 MB/month
 
unlimited
 
Overage rate 20¢/MB
$10 / 50 MB
 
4¢/MB
$20 / 500 MB
 
n / a
 
Monthly break-even 100 MB
x 20¢/MB = $20
 
875 MB
x 4¢/MB = $35
 
n / a
 
My Thoughts Makes sense if you only use mobile data occasionally, or for mostly text.

e.g. My mom, who uses mobile data mostly for email, and occasionally to browse the web
 

Makes sense if you browse the web regularly, and stream/download audio or video sometimes.

e.g. My fiancée, an average web user (email, social networking sites, chat, photos, maps, the occasional audio/video stream)
 

Makes sense if you stream/download audio or video a lot, or if you want to tether your mobile device with your laptop.

e.g. A geek like me, especially if I’m tethering, though I might even consider downgrading to Charged.
 

The monthly break-even point is not necessarily the long-term break-even point. Even if you go over the monthly break-even point occasionally, a smaller plan might be less expensive on average over time.

Pay Before to cap spending. If you’re concerned about overage charges, you can go Pay Before and only put in as much money as you’re willing to spend each month. Unlike other carriers, WIND offers Pay Before customers access to the same plans and add-ons.

Although these rates only apply in Home Zones, WIND is expanding it’s Home Zones daily, with the ambition of building a national 3G network. Right now, the Home Zones are Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa and Edmonton.

No More Getting Ripped Off

Coming from a family that’s been ripped off by Rogers for way too long, this is a breath of fresh air. Working through a Rogers bill involves a labyrinth of plans (fixed versus flex rate, Pay-As-You-Go versus regular wireless), vague details, ridiculous contracts, outrageous early cancellation fees, and sales reps who don’t understand half of it. The game is to do a detailed analysis of your usage and their offerings (including the fine print and hidden costs), and try to match them up as best you can. Otherwise, Rogers will happily take as much of your money as it can. Bell and Telus are hardly different.

I’m thankful for a wireless company that is trying to earn money by making things easy to understand, rather than profiting from confusion.

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It’s Not A Phone, It’s A Mobile Computer

Nokia N900
Credit: mackarus [CC BY]

People keep asking me about my new “cell phone,” but the Nokia N900 isn’t a phone. It’s a handheld, mobile computer. Calling it a phone is like calling a house a bed—sleeping is just one thing you do inside a house.

I became interested in the Nokia N900 in the fall, and after a several good reviews, I ordered one off eBay earlier this month. The N900 is the first from a series of Nokia Internet tablets to have cellular capabilities, but the SIM card doesn’t overshadow all the other things you can do with the device—it just frees you to connect to the Internet on the go. The day after it arrived, I signed up with WIND Mobile (another contributing factor to the purchase: leaving Rogers). The combination of a powerful mobile computer, and unlimited 3G data for just $35/month has changed the way I use the Internet.

Yes, it can handle phone calls and SMS messages, but it’s totally arbitrary that a call is a cellular call as opposed to over Google Talk or SIP / VOIP, or that a message is SMS rather than IM; the same applications are used in either case. I can use it as a cell phone, but I can also use it as an Internet tablet, GPS, digital audio player, camera, etc.

Maemo, the operating system that comes installed on the N900, is a fully-featured GNU/Linux distribution. Android shares a common (ish) kernel with other Linux-based distributions, but Maemo has much more in common with the operating system running on my laptop. It uses the same system for finding and installing new software, and it has a lot of the same applications available, since it’s easier to port from other GNU/Linux distributions. Rather than forcing developers to write Java “apps,” Maemo makes a variety of common development environments available. Thus, it’s the first platform to see a Firefox mobile release.

It’s a computer, not a phone. And it’s not just semantics. When we think of mobile computers as merely “phones,” we tolerate restrictions that we would otherwise reject on our computers. How many iPhone users would come to Apple’s defence if they instituted the same strict policies and arbitrary limitations on third-party applications for a Macbook as they do on their mobile computer? (Update: I spoke literally hours too soon.) Recognizing that these devices are really mobile computers is an essential step to gaining control over our mobile computing. Carriers and handset makers control our phones. We should control our own computers.

Google has tried to replace the term “smartphone” with it’s own buzzword — “superphone” — but it’s not just the “smart” part that’s become inadequate. It doesn’t make sense to call these devices “cell phones” anymore than it would make sense to call the buildings we live in “beds.” I have a handheld computer, and my carrier is my ISP.

ps I wrote and edited this post on my N900 using MaStory

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