Mobile Data Costs

Vodafone sent me (and 1000’s of others no doubt) a txt msg today announcing their new mobile internet plans. The big change is for casual users (probably anyone like me on prepay) who now have the following pricing,

$1/day for 10MB, no monthly fee, $1/MB overage

In other words, that’s ~$30/month for 300MB. While this is not a bad price in NZ’s (crippled) mobile data market, it is still complete pants compared to the rest of the world. It’s also worth noting that this a better deal than their “Broadband Starter” plan which is $30/month for 200MB on a 2 year contract. Go figure.

While on the topic of ridiculous pricing for mobile data, lets look at what those sms/txt messages cost you. At 20 cents per message that’s cheap right? Wrong! Time for some math…

1 sms = 160 7-bit characters (max) = 1,120 bits = 140 bytes
1 MB = 1,000,000 bytes (SI units) = 7142 sms messages
1 sms message costs 20 cents
Therefore, sending 1 MB via sms costs $1,428!

Of course if you don’t max out your 160 characters (or if you base it on 1024^2 bytes) it’s much more expensive. Wow.

Now if that doesn’t make you realise just how much money the telco’s are creaming off us, I don’t know what will.

Vodafone NZ embarrassed by its own plans?

Just three days before the launch of the iPhone here in New Zealand, Vodafone NZ announced some of the most expensive data plans accompanying the phone ON THE PLANET. Like many, I thought $199 was reasonable for the legendary device, until I saw the associated data price tag that is – a whopping $6,000! (see this post).

While browsing the Vodafone website this morning, I decided to see if there was any change in the plans given the general disappointment by the public (see here* and here*). To my surprise there has been a change in the listed plans(!), but not a change I was expecting.

So lets play spot the difference…

The listed plans today:

And the plans announced on July 8:

As you can see above, and for yourself on their iPhone plans page, Vodafone have ceased advertising their exorbitant 1GB data plan – you now have to visit a store to find that one.

So why the change? I can only conclude that Vodafone are EMBARRASSED by their own plans to the point that they are trying to hide the true cost to “heavy” data users. I say “heavy” as I believe that is complete bollocks by the way – 1GB per month is a mere 33MB (or so) a day and trivial to burn through given the richness of the internet. Furthermore, paying $6,000 for 24GB over two years is plainly insane when my ISP can offer me 50GB in one month for $40. Go figure (coz I can’t).

So yeah, SHAME ON YOU VODAFONE – firstly for pricing your data ridiculously high and secondly for trying to hide it.

(* WebCite links to the Stuff.co.nz articles here and here)

NZ iPhone data plans announced

Yesterday Vodafone NZ advised that the iPhone would start at NZ$199 – not too shabby, until you review their data plans announced today… If you thought the Canadians had it rough, check out the following exorbitant prices,

First up, that $199 price quoted earlier only applies if you buy an 8GB model with 1GB of data per month at a cost of $250/month! The astute among you will immediately realise this equates to a grand total of $6,199 over the course of the 2 year contract for the handset plus data! If you’re willing to shell out that much, you might as well treat yourself to a 16GB model for just $150 more.

The cheapest option is to buy an 8GB model with a paltry 250MB of data per month at an ongoing cost of $80/month, which totals $2,469 over the 2 year contract period. Just to be clear, 250MB per month is less than 9MB/day, which given the size of feature/media rich web pages these days is trivial to use up with simple web surfing.

Those plans are laughable. Congratulations Vodafone NZ – you’ve probably just announced the most expensive iPhone on the planet! How you can justify to charge that much for data is beyond me.

So yeah, no iPhone for me, but then that probably comes as no surprise really.

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UPDATE: But wait, it gets worse (if that’s possible). The folks in the NZGames.com forum have pointed out that you can’t get the phone on a prepay plan and there will be no visual voicemail when the phone is launched (this is not to say Vodafone won’t support it in the future, but hey, that’s one very cool feature missing).