Sunday, October 27, 2013

Warning to Telecom Managers about BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry 10 can blow your data budget away

by Vern Weitzman, Ives Brant

Our company was originally built on BlackBerry so I don’t mean to throw gasoline on their present fire sale. But I am hoping someone in Waterloo takes a closer look at the rather high usage  we have noticed on BlackBerry 10.

In 1999, when I got my first BlackBerry, it was a flat rate of $40/month for all-you-can-eat email. In fact, back then data was charged by the kilo-packet. The retail cost for one thousand characters fourteen years ago was probably about 10 cents”
  • 100KB was about $10 (An average BlackBerry pager used about 200KB)
  • 1MB would have cost about $100
  • 1GB would have cost about $100,000

That about 1000 times more expensive than my current Verizon Wireless data plan.  My point is that the BlackBerry email was so incredibly efficient and well engineered that they could comfortably offer a flat rate data plan for $40/month.

This efficiency continued right up to the latest OS 7.1 that was based on the original SRP (Server Relay Protocol.)  Of course, predecessors like the ancient, data-only BlackBerry devices did not have web surfing, streaming music and video. These services certainly added more bandwidth usage to the BlackBerry, but even BlackBerry OS 7.1 was still the leader in bandwidth efficiency.

We are on a shared data plan at Verizon.  With many phones on the plan, I occasionally check on monthly bandwidth consumption and usually see this type of usage:

  • BB Java OS (9000 series), People that use mostly email,  15 MB
  • BB Java OS (9000 series), People that use web browser and email,  150 MB
  • Heavy iPhone user, e-mail plus web browsing: about 700MB
  • Heavy iPhone user that is frequently watching video uses about 1250 MB

Somehow, this past month, we blew through our allotment of data.  When I zoomed in to specific users, I saw that a BlackBerry Z10 gobbled up 2.2 gigabytes!  This user isn’t playing music, video, or using it as a hotspot either. The primary usage is ActiveSync, just like the iPhone and Android users.

One possible area data usage is bleeding -- the built in apps such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.  Maybe third party apps are contributing to this problem as well?

Explanations aside, this looks like a mega-bill waiting to happen with international roaming. I did some research and can find reports from veteran BlackBerry users, now on BB 10 who are stunned at their travel bills. Telecom managers, if you have employees who carry both a passport and a BlackBerry 10, lower your seats; you’ll be falling out of them when the bill arrives. If someone is planning on international roaming, it may be well worth the trouble to assign them a legacy BlackBerry for traveling -- and make sure they leave the BB 10 at home.

The bottom line is that you should carefully look at the data usage for your BB 10 users and adjust the data plans accordingly.

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