RIM wants clearer pricing for mobile data

BlackBerry maker warns that mobile users struggle to grasp the cost of downloading data

Senior representatives at Research In Motion (RIM) and Sony Ericsson suggested on Wednesday that operators need to make data pricing simpler for users and IT managers to understand.

Speaking at the Symbian Smartphone Show in London, RIM's vice president, Charmaine Eggberry, told ZDNet UK that users generally found it hard to predict how much it costs to download data.

"The key focus area for carriers is to make it simpler to understand, because [users] come from a text-message mentality," Eggberry said on Wednesday — referring to fixed-price short messages and their easily understandable bundled packages.

RIM is the manufacturer of the ubiquitous BlackBerry device, a very data-centric handset. Speaking to delegates earlier in the day, Eggberry had identified pricing and security as key barriers for IT managers and chief information officers when it came to making decisions on mobile data.

Henrik Voigt, director of enterprise solutions for Sony Ericsson, also suggested that data costs were currently too unpredictable in the UK.

"In the enterprise area, those who have their [phone usage] paid for by the company don't care, but when it comes to solutions like the BlackBerry, cost is [an area] where companies are afraid," Voigt told ZDNet UK on Wednesday. Several recent Sony Ericsson phones — including the P990, M600 and W950 — support the BlackBerry email client.

"Cost control is key," Voigt continued, adding that companies "can accept costs but they don't want surprises".

T-Mobile has so far been the only UK operator to offer entirely flat-rate data pricing, although Orange recently launched an off-peak unlimited browsing and data bolt-on for its customers.


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