Are AT&T's new data rates going to drive users away from iPhone, towards BlackBerry?
AT&T's new $15/200MB, $25/2GB tiered, data-capped pricing plans are a huge change for the US mobile industry, and something BlackBerry maker RIM thinks will drive consumers away from high-bandwidth, open internet devices like iPhone and Android and towards low-bandwidth, proxied devices like BlackBerry. Our good buddy CrackBerry Kevin sums it up this "happy day for RIM" as follows:
Effectively, BlackBerry users have been subsidizing iPhone users bandwidth demands over the past few years. Now finally, with a dataplan like this, RIM can start to really boast and market the benefits of BlackBerry efficiency. Previously, the "looming data crunch" argument seemed a bit like an excuse for RIM to cover up some of the areas where it was lagging behind the competition. But with RIM fixing up it's gaps, for example with the new WebKit browser which will be fast AND use 3x less data than the competition for rendering the same page as we were told by AT&T Mobility's President and CEO back at CTIA 2010, RIM will be able to deliver customers with a great all around smartphone user experience that costs less to use on a monthly basis as compared to some of the more data heavy devices. The "average" BlackBerry user (which may not be you if you're reading CrackBerry on a daily basis!) should be able to get away with AT&T's $15/mo. plan.
Personally, as much as I think the BlackBerry Bold 9700 is the ultimate messaging device, my carrier (Rogers) has always had tiered pricing and I choose to pay $30/m for 6GB on an iPhone instead of saving some cash by getting less data and a BlackBerry. For me it's not about cost but about value. I personally find more value in what I can do with more data on an iPhone.
But what do you think? Is price -- or total cost of ownership (TCO) -- enough to make BlackBerrys a more compelling deal for consumers than iPhones under this new data reality?
How about new users and first time smartphone users? Are they more likely to go BlackBerry now than iPhone?