Telecom New Zealand charges $50,000 a Gigabyte for WAP

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 24-Jul-2006 21:10

Okay, so heres the deal, Telecom are encouraging its customer base to take up mobile data services. I worked under the Telecom banner for long enough to be bombarded with enough sales literature and training about mobile data to sink a battleship (and in fact they did sink one).

On both Telecom and Vodafone, users can get mobile data on 3G or 2G networks for as little as $49+gst for 1GB (one gigabyte).

On Telecom, if you dont want to pay a monthly fee, you will pay $8 per megabyte to access mobile data.

On Vodafone, if you dont want to pay a monthly fee, you will pay $10 per megabyte to access mobile data.

High pricing, for sure, but, in the grand scheme of things, not the worst thing in the world, and certainly nothing to lose sleep over, should you just wish to check your email once every few weeks or something - extremely low usage that wouldnt warrant paying a monthly fee on a data plan.

Todays new fangled phones continue on with an old technology - WAP (Wikipedia). WAP was always meant to revolutionise mobile, but instead flopped, and was doomed to faliure. However, WAP has lived on, and generated huge revenues for telcos, being used mostly by people who have no idea that the technology they are using is called WAP.

WAP is great. All modern handsets have WAP broswers, and there is a plethora of software for Java enabled phones and Symbian devices, which all uses WAP to access the internet.

You can get pop3 email checkers, irc clients, weather clients, internet enabled multiplayer gaming with linked high scores, mapping, and much much more.

Almost anything you can do on a normal PC in a browser, someone has put to market a cut-down WAP version of.

On Vodafone, if you use WAP, outside of the Vodafone portal, you are charged the casual GPRS rate of $10 a megabyte. Should you wish to use more than one or two megs of WAP a month on a regular basis, its worth your while to subscribe to a data plan. No problem there.

What if you are on Telecom? Well friends, we have a slight problem. Telecom charge all their WAP totally seperately. Heres a list of some mobile charges... where they state WAP is 5c per kb.

5c per kb. Wow - 5 cents is a tiny amount of money. We wouldnt bother to pick up a 5 cent peice if we saw one lying on the street, and we loathe having 5 cent pieces in our wallets.

And a kb is something that we cant hold. We dont really know how big a kb is unless we are reasonably computer-savvy.

Well folks - let me tell you something - thats astronomically high.

Lets do a comparison on a file, and the cost of retrieving that file on various connection types:

First, we need a file thats easy to judge the size of. A quick trip to Google, and a search on Telecoms website for pdf files, and we will just take the first one, which happens to be the Palm Treo 650 user guide, which weighs in at 7.32MB (seven megabytes).

Download scenario # 1

At home, I am on a 10GB ADSL plan with Xtra, the plan is $59.95 because we have our calling with Telecom:

1GB = 1024MB
10GB = 10240MB
$59.95 divided by 10240MB = $0.0058 per megabyte.
Multiplied by 7.32 megs = $0.042 (thats 4.2 cents)

Thats $0.042c (just over four cents), to download our PDF file. Hey - thats not even worth caring about. Download and go!

Download scenario # 2

Kel here on Geekzone (Chiefie), just got a Vodafone data card - they slot into your laptop. He is paying $49+gst per Gigabyte. Telecom also has the same pricing available with its data cards.

$49 plus GST = $55.13
$55.13 divided by 1024 megabytes = $0.0538 per megabyte
$0.0538 multiplied by 7.32 megs = $0.392 (just over 39 cents)

Thats $0.39c (thirty nine cents), to download our PDF file. Parking meter money...

Download scenario # 3

Out and about, I could use my HTC Harrier (a Windows Mobile Pocket PC). I barely use my Harrier at present, so with no data plan, I would be on Telecoms casual access rate of $8 per megabyte:

$8.00 multiplied by 7.32 megs = $58.56

GEE!! Thats nearly sixty dollars to download our PDF file. You wouldnt want to do that very often!

Download scenario # 4

I also own a Nokia 6265. Its a great phone, and I have a big storage card, and a web browser, and irc client, and email client that all use WAP. On Vodafone, these types of phones use the WAP over a data plan connection, but on Telecom, its billed seperately at the 5 cents per KB we talk about earlier.

1MB = 1024KB
5c multiplied by 1024 = $51.20
$51.20 multiplied by 7.32 megs = $374.78

You read it right - to download a phone user manual for one of Telecoms phones using Telecoms WAP service from a Telecom phone will cost you $374.78 (three hundred and seventy four dollars, and seventy eight cents). Thats over 50% of the cost of the Treo 650 itself!!

No matter what Telecom says, this is just a sheer total ripoff of its customers. Get with the program Telecom, and allow WAP to be charged at Mobile Broadband plan prices.

Heres a recap of the prices to download the 7.32MB pdf file on various services:

10GB ADSL : $0.042c ($5.99 per gigabyte)
1GB TNZ or VF Mobile Data Plan : $0.39c ($55.13 per gigabyte)
TNZ Casual Mobile Data : $58.56 ($8192.00 per gigabyte)
VF Casual Mobile Data : $73.20 ($10,240.00 per gigabyte)
VF WAP Service : $74.95 ($10,485.76 per gigabyte)
TNZ WAP Service : $374.78 ($52,428.80 per gigabyte)

If you wish to use my facts and figures or quote this blog at all, you should acknowledge this page as the source using the text "Tony Hughes"

Other related posts:
Flatmates busting your ADSL cap? Remedy...
Hawkes Bay Today (newspaper) scraping Trademe for telemarketing
Smart Connect - a free alternative to Psiloc Connect for S60 Nokia Smartphones (E71 etc)

Comment by barf, on 24-Jul-2006 22:24

great blog there tony. if voda and telecom had their wits about them they would have long-ago marketed GPRS/CDMAx1 as an alternative to dialup, have customers hooked, then push out HSDPA/EVDO.

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 24-Jul-2006 22:30

Thanks barf. Its disheartening to see WAP charged at 1000 times the cost of Mobile Broadband, when they are using the same technology, but just being billed at different rates.

Comment by chiefie, on 24-Jul-2006 22:34

Wow... I got mentioned. Woohoo... I should feel famous soon. (Hehe)... or maybe I should charge Tony for royalty fee of mentioning my name. (hehe). Just kidding, Tony. This is a good comparison of what one will have to pay to use mobile data on casual plan. It was on Campbell show the other night.

Comment by sbiddle, on 25-Jul-2006 06:45

Just as a small correction - on Vodafone not all applications use the WAP gateway for accessing the internet. Generally your internal browser will use (WAP APN) but most other applications such as email, irc, Opera etc etc all use a direct internet connection using (Internet APN)

Comment by juha, on 25-Jul-2006 09:00

"Confusion" :)

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 25-Jul-2006 16:33

thanks Steve. Much appreciated. I am not totally up with the play re: Vodafone tips and tricks.

Comment by paradoxsm, on 25-Jul-2006 19:50

It;s simply designed to rape the plebs , the people whom buy a phone to use it and no know anything about it, Telecom have an interesting relationaship with their "Mass Market" customers that involves losts of hidden exorbidant surprise charging, like WAP and Full minute rounding and very very high per minute rates to anywhere from home or mobile.

Comment by peteremcc, on 27-Jul-2006 14:23

Did some of my own similar calculations a while ago and got similar results. I thought I might share one calculation I did that you didn't do... please feel free to correct me on any of the maths ;) 1 TXT = 160 Characters * 8 bits = 1280 bits = 160 bytes => 160 bytes = $0.20 7.32MB / 160 bytes =7,675,576.32 bytes / 160 bytes = 47,972.352 => 7.32 = ~50,000 TXT messages => Via TXT = $95,994.47 NB: This assumes you completely fill EVERY TXT. How many people do this? Most just write a few words! :D

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 27-Jul-2006 14:30

Great stuff Peter! I didnt check your maths, but im sure its right :-P

Comment by peteremcc, on 27-Jul-2006 14:32

Do you know if the TXT's go over the same network as the rest of the data? I'm assuming not as even really old phones can TXT, but surely they 'could' do this nowerdays and make it a whole lot cheaper (not that they would, just that they 'could' :D)

Comment by peteremcc, on 27-Jul-2006 14:35

oh btw... that works out to $1,342,177.28/GB Yeah, over a million dollars per Gigabyte!

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 27-Jul-2006 14:36

I am not sure. From memory, when sending texts on a Sanyo, the indicators for data connections do not light up. Maybe someone could let us know?

Comment by peteremcc, on 27-Jul-2006 14:44

oh btw... that works out to $1,342,177.28/GB Yeah, over a million dollars per Gigabyte!

Author's note by tonyhughes, on 1-Aug-2006 10:56

it has come to my attention that Telecom staff at all levels have seen this post. Feel free to drop a comment guys - a rebuttal, tell us why WAP pricing is fair, or let us know what day this month the price is going to come down to a reasonable level. Seriously - make it fair, and more people will use it without fear of big bills. I would use it every day for email and IRC chat and MSN messenger if I could run WAP through a Mobile Broadband plan.

Comment by Adam Pritchard, on 13-Sep-2008 01:20

I was watching a local news broadcast today in Wellinton. I am a UK resident and I can confirm that the current prime minister of New Zealand is not up to the task and should be instantaneously replaced! New Zealand is not well paid. Generally jobs in London, UK are paid double and tax is less. You don't have enough competition in the Telecoms industry to make the cell phone industry competitive. In the UK, you can get a pre-pay cell phone that costs 12.5 cents or less per minute to land lines and cells on the same networ kand 50 cents to cells on different networks. Vodafone is ripping you off on a daily basis. 90 cents to call land lines !!! Services and products cost far too much in New Zealand and wages are far too low.... you need a new government. You are not competitive on the global market and people are apparently flocking from the country in droves. Its time to wake up, speed up (no pun on P intended) and realise that your small-town attitudes aren't going cut it anymore. Unless you want to replace China as the country with most poverty wildwide. I hope you dump that Prime Minister of yours and take the right route to global competitiveness. Regards, Adam

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