Gulf News today carries, on page 41, a slightly strange advertisement for telco Du’s Unlimited Blackberry offer. The ad, which struck me as unusually weak in a market slopping over the brim with weak advertising, offers “unlimited wireless access to email, calendar, messaging and internet through seamless and secured office connectivity”. It features a sketch of two aliens looking amazed at a Blackberry, having discarded a number of other useless gadgets.
Unusually, Gulf News has also, on page 36, spanked the offer editorially. GN’s Nadia Saleem not unreasonably points out that the ‘unlimited’ Du offer is actually limited to 1 Gb of data transfer, after which usage is charged at Dhs 0.01 per kbyte (or, in other words, a cool Dhs 10 per Mbyte). When contacted about the fact that its ‘unlimited’ offer is actually limited (a slightly paradoxical thing, I’m sure most would agree), Du apparently told our Nadia, “someone might use the data access facility to download movies all day or use the mobile as a modem to transfer large amounts of data”.
Ooh! The rotters!
Firstly, the point is surely that in today's 'always on' world, the data volume is not the charged unit in the vast majority of internet transactions. Package prices are the way forward and the amount of data used in a given package is not germane. The internet is not circuit switched - you pays for the pipe - access not volume. Operators billing volumetrically for access are sort of cheating, really. Particularly when they have mobile IP infrastructures.
That apart, I personally received something like 250Mbytes of useful* email this month, despite being on leave for three weeks of it - and the month's not over yet. If I include the junk, we're looking at a mailbox of over 300 Mbytes and I haven't started allowing for internet access, streaming video or any other cool apps or toys. So it's actually conceivable that a heavy user would actually want 1Gb of access.
What’s missing here are a few words on their advertisement to explain that they don’t actually mean unlimited when they say unlimited. Perhaps interestingly, Etisalat, the big telco, doesn’t limit its unlimited offer.
I bet the GN advertising sales boys aren’t talking to our Nads today, though...
PS: I know I said I wasn't posting for a couple of days, but I couldn't resist it...
*Useful is a relative term.