|BlackBerry Employees Count Down to BlackBerry 10 (Photo credit: Official BlackBerry Images)|
To put that in perspective - a Gigabyte is a thousand Megabytes and a Megabyte is a thousand Kilobytes. So 1 Gig of data at that rate would be around Dhs 33,000. Bargain, huh?
A smartphone will happily gorge its way through thirty kilobytes of data in about the time it takes a fly to hit a windscreen (What's the last thing to go through a fly's mind when it hits the windscreen? Its bum). I've got a 1 GB data plan and manage to keep a lid on it, but I'm by no means a heavy user. And I frequently find myself bobbing up towards the limit by the end of the month. Smartphones are constantly online, downloading this, checking that, updating the other. When you hit YouTube with a vengeance or start using them as a tethered wireless hotspot, the old byteometer starts whizzing around. It's why having a mobile that defaults automatically to WiFi is a godsend - particularly when all your apps decide they need to be updated at once, which happens every other day as far as I can see.
So to be clear, if you've bought the BB10, you're not covered by BIS any more - you need to get a data plan.
Luckily, both of the UAE's operators have BB10 ready plans, although Etisalat seems more ready than its rival - it offers four BB packages ranging from Dhs 49 to Dhs 299. The Dhs 49 package doesn't work with the Z10, so you'll need to start with the 'BlackBerry Complete' plan at Dhs 79. If you want roaming, the most expensive plan, the Dhs 299 'BlackBerry global' will give you 20 MB of roaming data. With roaming data speeds on offer of 2 Mbps, you're looking at using that abundant allowance of data in a little over a minute's access.
Du's plans seem a great deal more sketchy - at least the way they're presented online makes it look that way. And Du's roaming data is via its roaming data daily bundle - a one-time charge of Dhs50 which is valid for 24 hours and buys between 3 and 8 MB of data, depending where you are. Which is even less than Etisalat and a pretty useless amount of data.
At least Etisalat has started sending warning messages out when you hit your data plan limit, but the chances are we can look forward to puzzled UAE BlackBerry users wondering why their lovely new BB Z10 smartphone is suddenly gobbling credits like a PacMan on crack. There's an argument the operators should be louder and clearer on the new arrangement, communicating it effectively to consumers before they make the decision to buy the new handset.
But that would be far too sensible, wouldn't it?
(This post is thanks to Gerald Donovan, who originally brought this issue to light)