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21 Jul 2008

Technical Creativity and Australian Mobile Data Plans

I’m slowly making my way through Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class (yes, I should have read it a couple of years ago, I know), and came across a nice quote – paraphrasing the thoughts of Joel Mokyr, that I thought was rather apt when considering the stupidity and greed of the mobile phone carriers in Australia (in general, and in regard to Apple’s iPhone):

“Technical creativity has tended to rise and then fade dramatically at various times in various cultures, when social and economic institutions turn rigid and act against it.”

You could argue Telstra, Optus and Vodafone aren’t doing anything against technical creativity, sure – but they’re certainly not doing anything for it either.

If you want a much better, more detailed write-up, go read what John Allsop has to say.

Comments

7 responses to this article

22 Jul 2008
Steve said:

Hey Pat,

Good work, the book is a good one. The whole issue of locking technologies away to certain groups does create a climate where the most creative cannot do their best work (which is in all of our interests).

But how does this compete with the lowest-common-denominator which those large companies play in. Assumedly, the most creative wouldn’t sign up for a locked iPhone because they would see no value in such a contricted device.

I think the iPhone is for the the general punters, who will be amazed at having net access for the first time in their pocket, at what is, honestly, pretty affordable rates.

22 Jul 2008
pat said:

Steve: the plans may be affordable, but the data limits included are pretty small. There are no limits in the US and UK.

Also, the charges when you go over are horrendous – as people will discover, because lets face it, when you start using your iPhone and realise how easy it is to browse the net, you’re going to use it a lot. And that will put you over the limits. And you’ll be paying Telstra, Optus or Vodafone a lot of money. With Optus, you’re looking at $22 per extra megabyte.

23 Jul 2008
Steve said:

Hey Pat,

I’ve been using a data plan with 3 for the past year and a bit, so feel I can respond a little to this one. Yes, you do use a bit of data. And yes, I only use a Palm Treo…so using the net is not that easy. The iPhone should dominate in this field, which will raise the amount of data being used. But, again, remember the kind of people using the iPhone, given my earlier post. They probably won’t use the net on their phone just to surf…and may use it checking email or possibly a news site. But when it comes down to it, their long-duration surf times will still largely be done on a computer.

You are right on the extra charges though. The thing that catches you unaware is the ‘Roaming’ component. Using too much data is not the most likely occurrence (in my mind) but using data at the wrong time. I had my email set to download every 15 minutes. I went out of the coverage zone, and my phone started roaming. My bill that month was a whopping $60 extra…huge when my norm is $100. Beware Freelancing-God readers!!!

In the end mate, I agree with you. We can’t ever graduate our uses of tech if we don’t have the capacity to in the first place. But I think the iPhone actually creates the option for people to experiment with the idea of mobile data access at a relatively low cost for the first time.

The telco’s will offer unlimited download when the market demands it. (Famous last words?)

21 Jan 2009
Wade M said:

Hi Pat,

You might be interested in reading why the telcos haven’t done anything for it….I used to work for Hutchison, and have friends in Telstra.

We were in the network and security spaces. An interesting place to be fighting battles for open access….

Anyhow, have a read of my view of how this mess developed…

http://blog.wi.id.au/2008/06/21/how-the-australian-carriers-missed-it/

Peace,

Wade

21 Jan 2009
pat said:

Hi Wade

Thanks for the link to your post – good reading, albeit unsurprising and disappointing. I spent a year subcontracted out to Telstra, and they haven’t really got it, so can’t expect non-ISP telcos to.

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