By Jared Newman | Monday, December 6, 2010 at 1:38 pm
Oh Canada, land of free health care, and now home to a data plan that can be used across multiple devices.
Rogers’ so-called data share costs $15 per month on top of existing mobile broadband plans. Subscribers can then share up to 5 GB of data between a smartphone and another device (think tablets or 3G-ready laptops).
I’ve hoped that U.S. carriers would move in this direction ever since AT&T and Verizon Wireless started offering capped data plans. If there’s going to be a limit on how much data you can consume, consumers should be able to use that data however they want. After all, your home Internet service provider doesn’t care whether you’re on a laptop, tablet or game console, so why should wireless carriers?
Rogers’ plan isn’t perfect. It still costs extra despite offering no additional data — kind of like the tethering plan AT&T offers with its smartphones — and its contracts aren’t as desirable compared to U.S. carriers, because phones require a three-year commitment instead of two years. In other words, I won’t be moving to Canada just to use a tablet and a smartphone on a single plan.
But there’s hope for the United States. If tablets and connected laptops become more popular, people are going to demand a solution that doesn’t require separate data plans for every device. There may come a point where selling multiple-device data plans to a lot of people will be more profitable than selling single-device plans to people who can afford the higher rates. I don’t know when that day will come, but if Rogers can do it, maybe U.S. carriers aren’t too far off.