is a very special day for me because since today, all four German mobile
operators are offering flat Internet access for their UMTS and HSDPA networks. I
cannot believe that we finally reached this - after years of waiting. When I
bought my first Windows CE PDA back in 1997, one reason I bought it was the
possibility to access my E-Mails, and maybe the Internet wireless, from my PDA
through my IrDA connected mobile phone. At these early days of wireless
Internet, we used Circuit Switched Connections with an amazing fast up- and
downlink of 9.6 Kbps and the use was charged per minute - at a time you better
didn't staid connected too long!
Now, 11 years later, we have UMTS and HSDPA in place which offers downlinks
up to 7.2 Mbps and uplinks up to 384 Kbps with HSUPA just around the corner
which will offers uplinks up to 2 Mbps. And while some carriers already offered
flat Internet access (E-Plus was the first in Germany), not all operators
offered it so far but today, O2 Germany followed T-Mobile and Vodafone by adding
a fair-use flat plan as well. While E-Plus is still the only one of the four
carriers which offers a payable and real flat Internet access (25 Euro per
month), E-Plus doesn't have HSDPA (not to talk about HSUPA) launched yet but
only offers UMTS. T-Mobile, Vodafone and O2 are offering HSDPA and while
T-Mobile finalized its EDGE roll-out already, the two others are currently
rolling-out EDGE as well.
Okay, I have to admit that I'm biased in terms of O2 since I was working for its
forerunner for a couple of years and therefore, O2 is the carrier of my choice.
So far, they only offered a 5 GB pack for 25 Euro and if you came over the 5 GB,
you was again charged per KB. Since today, O2 Germany is also offering a 10 GB
fair-use Internet flat which gets a bandwidth throttling, back to GPRS for the
rest of the month, if you reach the 10 GB limit. Not yet the optimum, it's
better then nothing and a fair deal for both sides. As a customer, you will stay
connected, without paying anything in addition and as a carrier, you prevent
But there's another reason for me to use O2 Germany's flat offer now; it's
the reason that the smallest (and youngest) carrier offers a product called "Multicard"
which means you get up to 3 SIM cards and while only one SIM can used for voice,
O2 allows to use all 3 SIM cards for data. At the end it means you can have a
smartphone, a let's say UMPC and a Notebooks connected to HSDPA at the same
time. That's convenient and one reason for me why I staid with O2. I enjoy their
Multicard product and the fact that you are allowed to use all 3 SIM cards in
parallel for mobile data. For me it means that 3 devices (in this case my
Windows Mobile Mobile smartphone, my UMPC and my Tablet PC) will be able to get
Internet access, whenever and wherever I need it, without switching the SIM
cards or disabling one of the devices.
I couldn't imagine this, 11 years ago - that there would come a time where we
are talking about Mbps instead of Kbps and flat fees instead of minute charges.
Bright new wireless Internet world.
Cheers ~ Arne