How Canadian mobile providers are stifling their own growth

I'm currently still in Torino, Italy, although I'm heading out to Milan, then Bologna tomorrow, and will be in Brussels by the end of the week in time for FOSDEM.

I'm writing a bit about mobile technologies here in Italy over on 2010.dailyvancouver.com (check the Tech Talk section). I've got a Vodaphone SIM for my Nokia 6630 with UMTS-based 3G service (around 350kbps) and the experience has been fantastic.

So, while we had our symposium, the relative maturity of the European vs. Canadian mobile technologies certainly did come up. One example I used was how there is a mobile data plan here that gives you 9GB of transfer for 40EU. On Fido, which is my provider back home, this would cost $270,000 based on the listed per MB charges of $30. Actually, I did the calculation in my head initially and everyone was shocked/amused by the figure of $27,000...and then we figured out we were still an order of magnitude off!

So I can sympathise with Alec Saunders' experience with the Rogers "unlimited" plan which is definitely not unlimited:

Rogers used to be an innovator in the Canadian market. This kind of behaviour smacks of clueless, and deliberately deceitful, lawyers and marketing people trying to pull a fast one on customers. Rogers needs to fix my bill, and then offer a proper unlimited data plan -- one that recognizes the reality of the advanced data devices they're pushing in the marketplace.

I am "lucky" to have a grandfathered unlimited data plan from Fido, which Roland was also lucky enough to get -- it's $50CDN per month, but it's also the only way to experiment with rich mobile services in Canada; anything else would bankrupt you within months. Hence, Canadian mobile providers are actually stifling their own growth.

I'm going to add my voice to Alec's: Rogers, use the Fido brand as the place to try out innovation. And yes, I'm happy to help :P