Flat Rate Mobile Internet Arrives in the UK
Orange mobile, together with other UK mobile networks, have launched flat tariff for internet browsing in the UK. The orange offer is £5 a month, or £8 to be able to browse during the day too. An improvement on Vodafone's offers flat rate of £30 a month. Orange's tariff extends to pre-pay customers for the first time.
Both offers have capped total daily data consumption to 30 and 15Mbytes respectively. Bandwidth quality remains uncertain, which impacts VOIP applications and skype-mobile, but email and texting should not be affected. In spite of the initial limitations, once users start browsing on their mobile, the mobile flat rate fight will no doubt drive prices down.
As with home connections, mobile flat rate internet changes mobile usage. Myself, for instance, I use my browser and web bookmarks more, plus I download application like free text messaging, hotxt, and other Instant Messaging services to replace my SMS.
Mobile operators, stand to loose significantly if users bypass their voice and SMS services. Just like land-line operators are loosing to skype and VOIP services. In an attempt to control mobile usage, operators pre-install their own web services on phones, the same way Microsoft pre-installs Internet Explorer on windows. Google's mobile department has been fighting to get Google mobile search pre-installed on phones, with mixed success.