Irish iPhones Now Crying? No Unlimited Data or Visual Voice Mail?

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As posted (and updated) earlier, O2 has officially launched the iPhone in Ireland, making it the fifth country (after the US, UK, Germany, and France) to enjoy the revolutionary phone and breakthrough internet device... ish...

Apple Insider reports that Irish iPhone plans, unlike all previous iPhone plans DO NOT come with unlimited data or visual voicemail (a feature often touted by Steve Jobs as being a prime example of carrier cooperation and hence, the benefit of exclusivity).

There seems to be two options here:

  1. We've heard before that Edge (2.5G data) coverage isn't strong in Europe (which more quickly embraced the faster 3G data model), so could this be a (potentially temporary) situation that O2 will rectify over time? If so, we could be looking forward to service improvements and price drops like we saw with O2 in the UK.
  2. Or is this a sign that Apple is no longer pressuring carriers to offer affordable, unlimited data plans or features like visual voice mail as part of the iPhone package? If so, this could be the beginning of a far more sweeping and important story. It's long been rumored that extremely high data rates have kept the iPhone out of countries like Canada, so if Apple is bending to carrier demands on these issues, it could allow the iPhone to spread wider, but at the cost of the concessions Apple was previously able to leverage. (And which analysts said could change the wireless industry)

What do you think? Is this just a temporary road bump on the way to Irish iPhone bliss, or a sign of changing times in carrier-land? And if so, would you prefer to see the iPhone in more countries, even if you get less data and fewer features? Or do you want Apple to hold the line on unlimited plans and visual voicemail-style innovations?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Irish iPhones Now Crying? No Unlimited Data or Visual Voice Mail?

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I agree, bad news for Canada -- and you rener. :(
It's actually very surprising to me that it's taking so long for a Canadian release -- it does off a glimmer of hope that Apple's still pushing for better data rates, but just a glimmer.

There is some signs Apple is losing leverage, especially their inability to get a deal in china, and talking about changing their "superior" business plan.
Surur

At one point before release in the UK O2 were suggesting a limit of 200 MB pcm:
http://community.zdnet.co.uk/blog/0,1000000567,10006192o-2000331855b,00.htm
That changed before release of course, a move some reckoned was due to pressure from Apple. If that's true perhaps a similar scenario will play out in Ireland too? In practice though it probably doesn't matter a whole lot, especially if there's little or no EDGE. 1 GB a month over GPRS would take a fair bit of effort. In the real world the high price of minutes and texts and the absence of any bundled hotspot access are likely to be more painful.

I agree, bad news for Canada -- and you rener. :(
Dieter, how come you manage to reply before the original post? Psychic? :)

Marcol,
Dieter just got his Time Capsule, so he's now everywhen, Dr. Manhattan style.
I'm hoping you're right about the scenario in Ireland, as unlimited, ubiquitous internet is the future, and Apple was certainly helping to bring that future. It would be unfortunate if the tired old monopolies got to force us back into the data and feature stone age.
Surur,
You think letting the Chinese dictate mobile terms is the way to go?
Dieter,
No 'Danny Boy', I promise. And the love ain't coming to Canada any time soon it seems. Not when they're raising text rates to .15 or .20 a message (140 characters * $0.20 = how much per Mb??) and restricting web access to their own wap sites on restricted phones... Canada is truly the 3rd world when it comes to mobile...

Dieter, how come you manage to reply before the original post? Psychic? :)
Whoops - post time was done a little too quickly there on my part, eh?
Yes, MAGIC!!
No 'Danny Boy', I promise.
That one too now, you're so fired. :-p
And the love ain't coming to Canada any time soon it seems. Not when they're raising text rates to .15 or .20 a message (140 characters * $0.20 = how much per Mb??) and restricting web access to their own wap sites on restricted phones... Canada is truly the 3rd world when it comes to mobile...
It's just so surreal, you'd think that RIM would have flexed their muscles by now and gotten these carriers in line.

Surur,
You think letting the Chinese dictate mobile terms is the way to go?
Cant be worse than Apple, can it?
Surur

Doesn't RIM revenue share for push email services? If so, $200 for 100MB (the previous data rate) was likely very rich for them.
Due to pressure from Bell and Telus, which now offer virtually unlimited data on subsets of HTC Touch, Blackberry's (sometimes only Pearl), and other PDA's, Rogers has moved (glacially) towards lower prices, but unless Job's frequent flyer miles have been spent almost exclusively on wake-n-bakes with Ted Rogers, I'm still not holding my breath.
Here's the latest:
Rogers Unlimited data plan not so unlimited after all
At first glance, the plan seems fairly straightforward: unlimited mobile data and Internet access for a mere extra $7 per month on top of your existing phone plan. However, when you look a little more closely, the “unlimited” deal turns out to be anything but unlimited. There is a limit of 2,500 sent text messages per month, and 1,000 picture or video messages, despite the fact that these too are “data” and should be unlimited. Of greater concern is the fact that the deal only applies to select phones and does not include Blackberries, Windows Mobile devices, laptops using PC cards for mobile data access, or unlocked devices such as Apples iPhone. The latter is still officially unavailable in Canada, but many wondered if the revealing of this “unlimited” plan was a clue that Rogers was about to announce that they had secured exclusive access to sell the iPhone in the Great White North. This does not appear to be the case at the moment.

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