Addicted to novelty since 2001

GPRS is a Joke

Because I’m a geek, I recently set up my Bluetooth-enabled phone to talk to my Apple PowerBook, enabling me to ‘dial up’ and check my email from anywhere there’s a cell signal. I did so while traveling from Nanaimo to Vancouver on the (very handy) HarbourLynx.

I was online for about 16 minutes, and used my ISP’s very basic Web client to check my email. In the midst of business correspondance, Fido, my mobile service provider, bent me over the boat rail and gave me the rodgering of my young life:

112 bucks for 3 megabytes? It would have been cheaper to send and receive the data via foie gras-fed marbled murrelets!

I know all you cheeky bastards out there with your Blackberries and Sidekicks and HipToparamas are guffawing manfully to yourselves. Me, I don’t want to carry around a hockey puck in my pocket, and I’m rarely without my laptop.

I know I only have myself to blame for not checking the rates. And I imagine there’s a better data transmission plan out there. The lesson is, however, that we’re a long way from affordable, truly wireless computing.

4 Responses to “GPRS is a Joke”

  1. Jeff

    Fido is a terrible company and judging from the attitude of the reps I have dealt with over the phone, morale must be pretty low around there.

    I lost my cell phone with my local cell provider when I was out in Vancouver this past spring. Since my contract was about to expire, I decided it would be cheaper to sign up with a new provider and get a free cell phone.

    I went with Fido.

    Worst mistake I ever made. And like you, I totally got bent over using their GPRS.

    I am now signed up on their $5/500K plan, which is itself a rip-off. I moderate my data usage religiously and count the days until I can switch providers again (still 17 long months away).

  2. Boris Mann

    In Canada, Fido is the best choice, which is so terribly sad…

    I have a “grandfathered” plan where I pay $50CDN/month for unlimited data. I use it intermittently on my phone (yes, it’s a real phone) as well as to connect my laptop in remote areas.

    I also don’t have one of those ridiculous “contracts”, which are also gone now that Rogers has bought Fido.

    All the other Canadian players (essentially only Bell and Telus) use a different cell technology, which makes it a) impossible to switch phones and b) has slower, less reliable data rates and c) doesn’t easily connect to laptops and other devices. In other words…irrelevant.

    All we can hope for is a takeover by a US company. There is no end to the monopoly in sight.

  3. Dana Epp

    I had a very similar issue with Rogers Wireless. I use the Audiovox SMT5600 Smartphone, and got nailed with $80 in data charges checking my email with OMA and catching up on my RSS feeds via Bloglines.

    GPRS services in Canada suck. We get raped big time. Down in Seattle, friends of mine pay like $10 a month for unlimited data. *sigh*

    Someday we might catch up with the Jones. Today is not that day. Tomorrow doesn’t look much better either.

  4. Canada’s Mobile Data Access Sucks | DarrenBarefoot.com

    […] About a year and a half ago, I wrote about how much the current pricing structure for Canadian mobile data access blows. I managed to spend CAN $112 for 3 MB of data. Both James and Boris link to Thomas Purves’s chart that shows how absurd current Canadian mobile data pricing is (click for larger image): […]

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