Friday, March 11, 2011

Alert: Apple iOS 4.3 update may cause billshock for some iPhone users

Yesterday I updated Apple iTunes (as there was an upgrade waiting) and then followed up with upgrading my Apple iPhone 3GS to iOS 4.3. This was all done using Telstra's 3G data network. I knew there would be a big hit, as in the past I've advised staff at clients not to upgrade their iPhone operating systems at work as it kills the network performance, so I know it is a beefy upgrade.

Today I decided to check the usage which is normally in the 10's of megabytes per day, an my last usage  was 760MB. WOW I thought. Yes it is only every now and then it occurs, but still wow. That's a big update. It is possible there may have been other traffic that occurred on the day, but I felt it prudent to warn others.

The problem for many people is they may have a 1GB allowance on their mobile or USB broadband plans and getting a whopping 700MB plus slice of their data plan used so early in the month could cause them to go over their allowance. That could lead to hundreds of dollars of excess data usage charges from some carriers. I'm not in that boat because I've opted to buy 10GB to use over a year which means the peaks and troughs of data usage don't affect me. For me it works out cheaper. In the past I'd never go near my monthly limit just in case, which was a real pain and it also meant 20-30% of my data wasn't used so the real cost of the used data was greater.

I shudder to think about people who may be using 200MB data bundles with their mobiles.

I really think Apple should provide free upgrade disks from their stores as an alternative. Even a small fee to cover costs would be good. More and more people I know are opting to drop their landline based facilities and go mobile. Mobile data is still not cheap and whilst the Telcos will get the blame for billshock, it really should fall on the shoulders of companies like Apple in this case. I don't even know if Apple provides a disk based alternative for users and if they do, it isn't well promoted.

For those with an iPhone using 3G data plans to access the internet, make sure you keep an eye on your data usage this month, or your hip pocket may pay the price.

Kelvin Eldridge

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