Vodafone signals data plan changes

Compass phone-based navigation service launched in NZ

Vodafone is planning changes to its mobile data pricing that it says will mean there will be no barriers to experiencing the mobile internet.

However, Vodafone's general manager of products and services, Kursten Shalfoon, was not prepared to expand on the plans apart from saying they would not be "free".

He would not say whether they would be flat rate plans or tied to advertising, but did say they'd coincide with a mobile internet launch.

Under current data plans, one analysts has warned, users of the iPhone and other internet devices on mobile networks could face nasty "bill shock" when their monthly invoices arrive.

Last week it was announced New Zealand and nine other countries would receive the iPhone through Vodafone. It is widely rumoured and expected that the deal is not exclusive to Vodafone and that other providers could soon announce similar arrangements.

On Friday, Vodafone New Zealand was not prepared to add anything to a brief statement on the deal released to the UK stock exchange.

Stuff blogger and Computerworld writer Juha Saarinen recently highlighted the differences between vodafone's UK and New Zealand plans:

"Over here, you’re looking at between $30 and $70 for up to 3GB of data on two-year contracts, or $40 to $80 if you don’t want to lock yourself in. Another $10 a month buys you “insurance” if you overshoot the monthly allowance: the tenner gives you double the existing data volume, so in theory, you can chew through 6GB for $80 or $90 a month, with 50¢/MB if you go over that. "Vodafone UK, on the other hand, charges £5 for “unlimited” data usage through increased phone plan pricing. It seems the actual cap is 500MB a month but that’s not enforced. I’m not sure that you can call the offer free as such, since you’re paying more than before, and with a 500MB cap it’s hardly unlimited either."

In other news, Vodafone New Zealand has launched a Navman-like service called Compass on the Blackberry using technology from Australian mobile developer Yapp Mobile. Computerworld signalled the deal in October last year.

Compass downloads maps in real-time so they are always up to date. Shalfoon says additional services on the system could include information about the whereabouts of petrol stations and their prices. Information on parking buildings could also be included among other applications.

The service is free until October and then will be charged at $10 a month or $2.50 for one day's casual use.

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Tags dataplanNetworking & Telecomms IDiPhoneVodafone

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