Thursday, July 30, 2009

Because your mobile provider needs more money

Our cell phone companies are at it again. For the uninitiated, you can take advantage of the connection your phone can make to the internet (assuming you have a data plan) and connect your computer to your phone so that you can surf the web etc. on a bigger screen than your phone provides. It's called tethering and it only requires a cable to connect the two.

If you're already paying for data to your mobile phone company, you'd figure that tethering or not, data is data - as long as you stay within your purchased limit of megabytes, everything is hunky dory. And that's where you'd be wrong. By the end of 2009, Rogers and Fido will likely charge you a monthly fee if you want to tether your laptop to your phone for internet access on the road, otherwise the feature will be blocked. There are ways around this block (naturally),
but not everyone will know how nor should they have to. This is still pure speculation, as Rogers haven't actually said they will charge for tethering, but the way their announcement was worded, they are leaving the option open. On my Fido bill, there is now a fee entry placeholder for tethering.

I really have a bone to pick with this issue and I'm not even mildly interested in tethering in the first place. If I paid for 1GB of data use per month, it's bought and paid for. Period. Whether I use this data on my phone or tethered to my laptop is of no business to my mobile phone company. Once again, the mobile phone industry in Canada delivers another punch to the consumer thanks to the lack of real competition. I truly look forward to the day a European cell provider gets access to our market.

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