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THOUGHT: A dream comes true - all German carriers finally offering flat wireless Internet access
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 01.07.08 - 19:19:53 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 14133x
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Today 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 fraud.

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


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