My friend and I were busy chatting the other day, about life and such. As his wife is expecting a baby conversation turned inevitably towards children with him asking how my daughter is and I asking how his wife is coping with pregnancy. Suddenly it struck me mid conversation, given all of the great new methods of communication available to us - we were chatting by text message. Of all the people I had hoped would be getting into google plus, and messenger with me (we are both big android fans), he was top of the list. Yet here we are, using a method that has been open to us for what, 15 years?
Once I had noticed, I challenged him on it (after all, he started the conversation). As I wrote to him I thought about receiving replies about not even thinking about google plus as a viable communication medium, or who ever used google messenger? His actual reply was a complete surprise.
"Meh. Texting is free, email uses data."
I had never considered data usage an issue. For my sins I am a T-Mobile customer on an unlimited data package, and although I am sure that there must be a fair usage policy somewhere on there - I have never found a limit. Even after installing custom roms and reinstalling all my apps at once over my carriers network, I have not been throttled or charged for additional data. His "unlimited data" apparently has a 250MB limit.
I am approaching my upgrade date on my phone contract and as such have been looking around at options, both with my current provider and others here in the UK. As I am now almost surgically attached to my phone leaving apps running and using data all day, the data options have been top of my list. I rarely use it as a phone if I am honest. I could probably get by with 100 minutes and 100 texts. My data is the bit I need, and I would imagine that the same is true for more and more people following the explosion in smart phones in recent years. That being the case, why do most UK network providers not offer unlimited data any more? Other than my provider, I can't find anyone offering more than 1GB included in the package. I may be a rare case in which this is not enough due to my firm belief in using the phone for what it is designed for. It is plugged in when driving so that I can get traffic conditions relayed to me live. I have my email and social networks syncing every few minutes as I follow a few things that require quick responses to ensure I dont miss out on freebies and special offers. I allow google to upload my photos to plus so that they are backed up straight away. So yeah, I am a heavy user and maybe I could cut a lot of that out and use these services only when I can connect to wifi. But why should I?
We are undergoing a remarkable revolution in social connectivity and the role technology plays in that. Mobile phones and the software on them enable a level of communication and an unparalleled access to information wherever you are on the planet that has never been seen before. It is accessible to almost anyone in society. Just so long ss they dont want to take full advantage of all that their new phone can offer. Come on networks, until you offer truly unlimited data packages you are to a greater or lesser extent holding back the full adoption of truly mobile technology, and the advantages that this can bring to modern society.
Image: Flickr user judy_breck