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BlackBerry 10s need a data plan in UAE

Blackberry 10 needs data plans in UAE

A smartphone will happily gorge its way through thirty kilobytes of data in about the time it takes a fly to hit a windscreen, writes Alex McNabb.

February 10, 2013 5:05 by

There has been quite a lot of confusion globally about the new BlackBerry 10 smartphone and how you access BlackBerry services. In the good old days, your BB worked seamlessly and gave you access to roaming data and messaging – a key reason for its wild popularity in the Gulf. The new BB Z10 will NOT do that.

You’re going to need to join the riff-raff and subscribe to a data plan. If you try and use that puppy when you’re roaming, heaven alone knows what the consequences will be, but standard roaming data rates with both Etisalat and Du are a whopping Dhs 1 per 30 kilobytes of data.

To put that in perspective – a Gigabyte is a thousand Megabytes and a Megabyte is a thousand Kilobytes. So 1 Gig of data at that rate would be around Dhs 33,000. Bargain, huh?

A smartphone will happily gorge its way through thirty kilobytes of data in about the time it takes a fly to hit a windscreen (What’s the last thing to go through a fly’s mind when it hits the windscreen? Its bum). I’ve got a 1 GB data plan and manage to keep a lid on it, but I’m by no means a heavy user. And I frequently find myself bobbing up towards the limit by the end of the month. Smartphones are constantly online, downloading this, checking that, updating the other. When you hit YouTube with a vengeance or start using them as a tethered wireless hotspot, the old byteometer starts whizzing around. It’s why having a mobile that defaults automatically to WiFi is a godsend – particularly when all your apps decide they need to be updated at once, which happens every other day as far as I can see.

So to be clear, if you’ve bought the BB10, you’re not covered by BIS any more – you need to get a data plan.

Luckily, both of the UAE’s operators have BB10 ready plans, although Etisalat seems more ready than its rival – it offers four BB packages ranging from Dhs 49 to Dhs 299. The Dhs 49 package doesn’t work with the Z10, so you’ll need to start with the ‘BlackBerry Complete’ plan at Dhs 79. If you want roaming, the most expensive plan, the Dhs 299 ‘BlackBerry global’ will give you 20 MB of roaming data. With roaming data speeds on offer of 2 Mbps, you’re looking at using that abundant allowance of data in a little over a minute’s access.

Du’s plans seem a great deal more sketchy – at least the way they’re presented online makes it look that way. And Du’s roaming data is via its roaming data daily bundle – a one-time charge of Dhs50 which is valid for 24 hours and buys between 3 and 8 MB of data, depending where you are. Which is even less than Etisalat and a pretty useless amount of data.

At least Etisalat has started sending warning messages out when you hit your data plan limit, but the chances are we can look forward to puzzled UAE BlackBerry users wondering why their lovely new BB Z10 smartphone is suddenly gobbling credits like a PacMan on crack. There’s an argument the operators should be louder and clearer on the new arrangement, communicating it effectively to consumers before they make the decision to buy the new handset.

But that would be far too sensible, wouldn’t it?


*Written and published by Alex McNabb here.

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  1. Amir on February 11, 2013 1:05 pm

    Very disappointing ! I am amazed how a company like RIM (or now called BlackBerry) does such a big miscalculation ? Is this their “comeback” ? I don’t believe that they can make it with Z10 as they are now just another Smartphone which has to compete with titans such as Apple or Samsung. I travel a lot and if I cannot use my Z10 overseas the way I have been using my BBs for years, then I definitely will not opt for Z10. Bye Bye BB !

  2. Bassem on February 11, 2013 3:33 pm

    Congratulations BB… You just lost the only advantage you had for business travelers working out of Dubai. Instead of our telcos leveling the field by having flat data roaming plans for all smart phones BB opted out of compressed traffic routed via their data centers.

  3. Ram on February 11, 2013 4:18 pm

    Many of the old customers of BB including me are using BIS unlimited Global for AED285. Its only recently that Etisalat has started screwing up new customers with 20MB of international roaming data.. 20MB is just an eye-wash of giving something but nothing, can come for few days if you are are really lucky.. The only edge BB had these days of unlimited data also has been fucked up by these providers forcing customers to move out of otherwise impressive BB’s. First it was the bug patch which knocked out some of the good customers and then now with this palty global data 20MB !

  4. Jim on February 12, 2013 4:54 pm

    What are you talking about? International BlackBerry service is at AED 260 for 1GB of data. It’s always been like that, BB OS 10 or not.


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