Canada – iPhone & behind the curve wireless

I’ve commented before about how frustrating it is to see that Canada’s wireless prices are higher than other countries, and that our devices and services lag other countries.

I use an HTC Windows mobile smartphone, and while its a great device, I find that I don’t get as much use as I could from it, as I’m always concerned that data charges will get out of hand if I use the net too much.

Michael Geist just wrote an article, and posted a speech he just delivered on the state of wireless in Canada, using the iPhone as a starting point.

Its worth a read/listen

Rogers upgrades to Windows Mobile 6

Rogers is offering a free upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 to those of us who have a Rogers HTC with Windows Mobile 5. I upgraded mine yesterday – it was easy to do.

That upgrade was welcome – now if only the data rates would come down so I could actually afford to surf the net using the Rogers network, instead of having to do that over wifi.

Read more about that in an article by Jack Kapica

iPhone hype buildup

For those that are counting – 9 days to go before the iPhone is available. Keep in mind that while there is no question that it is a cool and innovative device, it is aimed at the consumer market. It is not designed to play nice with the corporate desktop, where Blackberry’s and Windows Mobile devices reign supreme.

So if you want an iPhone for work purposes – check it out carefully before you buy to make sure it will meet your needs. I suspect lots of people will try to use them for business use, and perhaps web apps will be created for the iPhone browser that will bridge the gap. I’m sure we will see commentary on this soon after it is on the market.

For those that just can’t wait to get one – Steve Rubel points to an article entitled Waiting for Your iPhone: Five Ways to Handle the Unbearable Stress

light blogging last week & HTC Excalibur

I was away at a conference most of last week, hence the lack of entries. (OK – so it wasn’t technically a conference – I took my son to the Star Wars Celebration IV in Los Angeles.)

The trip put my recently acquired HTC Excalibur smartphone to the test. (Rogers just started offering it in Canada – its the same phone as the T-Mopbile Dash.) It worked extremely well. The Windows Mobile 5 operating system ties in nicely with the desktop.

It has wifi which helps reduce those data roaming charges. I was able to connect to free wifi in airports, the hotel, and the LA convention centre to keep on top of email, and to keep in touch with home.

Look at the HTC on the Rogers site

Canadian mobile Data rates

Michael Geist points to a post with a chart showing how high Canadian wireless data rates are compared to other countries.

Canada’s wireless phone use has lagged places like Europe and Asia. The fact that we have a better existing wired infrastructure is generally cited as the reason for that. Perhaps the fact that we pay more has something to do with it as well.

As an aquaintance pointed out to me yesterday, if the EU follows through with their effort to control roaming charges, we might be better off getting a phone based in the EU!

Look at the chart and comments on ThomasPurves.com

3GSM wraps up in Barcelona

3GSM is an event where the major cell phone manufacturers show their latest wares. Take a look at the engadget mobile site to see details, and look at all the latest and greatest phones. (Disclaimer – don’t blame me if you get frustrated seeing phones that you want – but won’t be available for a while.)

One significant announcement was Windows mobile 6. From the reports I have seen – it fixes some of the nits in Windows mobile 5 and integrates Office rather well.

So – note to Rogers Wireless – forget bringing out a Windows mobile 5 phone – and go right to 6. One of the newer ones shown at 3GSM would be nice (a keyboard is crucial – think Blackjack or better). And my contract on my existing smartphone is almost over – so within the next couple of months?

Look at engadget mobile 3GSM coverage

Local phone de-regulation

Today’s press talks about the Canadian Federal government’s decision to require the CRTC to deregulate local phone service in areas where there are 3 alternate providers.

The phone companies are pleased. Some think this will be good for consumers as it may lead to more competition and reduced prices.

Critics are concerned that the existing telcos wil undercut the competition, so in the end we will be left with no competition and higher prices.

Only time will tell – it will be interesting to follow this as it unfolds.

My personal observations are that while the cable companies have phone service, they are not competing on price. When you add up the prices of similar service from the phone company and the cable company, they are remarkably close. Strikes me that the cable cos see the telcos as their competition, not the independent Voip providers.

So at the moment we seem to have similar priced, similar quality services from the telcos and cable cos, with pure Voip plays coming in much cheaper and more flexible, but often with call quality issues.

Which leads to the network neutrality issue. Will this mean that it becomes even more tempting for any ISP that offers broadband service (ie the telcos and cable cos) to tinker with the quality of third party Voip?

Read an ITBusiness.ca article about the announcement