It took a newly-minted Canadian from France to make me realize what an affront this is to Canadian mobile phone users…
If you’ve any doubts about the power and reach of social media, consider these available plans and add-ons from Canada’s three incumbent wireless carriers:
Bell Canada’s Smartphone BlackBerry Social:
Unlimited Facebook®, Twitter, MySpace® and instant messaging.
Rogers’ Social View™:
Now, on select data plans, get unlimited access to your favourite Social Networking sites. Update status, send messages, connect with friends and share photos using Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, Flickr, Photobucket or LinkedIn.
Telus Mobility’s BB Social:
Unlimited Facebook®, Twitter®, MySpace®, BlackBerry® Messenger and Windows LiveTM Messenger.
Everything seems above the board — that is until you read the fine print:
Web browsing and applications usage is not available on BlackBerry® smartphones with this rate plan.
Presumably for BlackBerry Internet Service the carrier has to pay some kind of license fee to Research In Motion, and would therefore pass that cost onto the customer (obviously). So why then is BBM included in the Telus plan above?
And how exactly are packets of data from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Bebo, Flickr, Photobucket or LinkedIn different from packets from any other site or service? There’s a term for this, isn’t there? Traffic shaping, if I’m not mistaken?
Fortunately Canada’s upstart carriers seem to adhere a bit better to the standards of net neutrality:
- Mobilicity actually gives its customers a reduced rate on BIS ($20CAD/month) and treats all other data as data.
- WIND Mobile has a Social Mobile plan of its own, but it’s merely a 50MB limit on monthly data. Other limits are also available, up to no limit at all.
And Public Mobile stays out of the mobile Internet game altogether. Fair enough.
It should come as no surprise to any Canadian that this country’s big three do everything they can to obfuscate their mobile services on offer — or in this case, what said services are sorely lacking. But when it comes to the mobile Internet don’t be fooled — data is data, and any company that tells you otherwise is trying to scam you.