This post first appeared on my Sybase 365 blog on November 15, 2007.
As it is now the middle of November, the iPhone has now been launched (without MMS, of course) in the UK and Germany. Additionally, China Mobile announced at this week’s GSM Asia Congress in Macau that they are in negotiations with Apple over bringing the iPhone to China. In fact, the sales figures are estimated around 23 million units, during the first year.
In a piece on CNN, anchor Adrian Finighan advises readers against rushing out to buy this very popular handset (iPhone Commentary: CNN).
Another serious issue with the iPhone for users who roam outside of their home network (such as Americans to Europe), is that they incur astronomical data roaming fees. Apparently, many don’t realize that the iPhone is continually connecting to the EDGE data network to download, check for email and download visual voicemail. Consequently, users are getting hit with bills — some exceeding $3000.00. The blogs and news organizations are full of stories. The solution is to use free WiFi, utilize an unlimited data plan from their operator, and disable the EDGE network. For more information on this, simply Google “iPhone roaming charges.”
Having now “played with” an iPhone, there are a lot of things that I like about it. An educated user should be able to overcome the roaming issues by disabling the EDGE capability; however, a frequent business traveler may find that the iPhone may not be the best mobile phone to use when outside their home country, due to these and other issues. I do expect that Apple will be updating existing iPhones with software updates that should alleviate many of the deficiencies, such as no MMS, that have been pointed out. MMS usage in the US continues to grow rapidly with several age groups in the 25-35% usage range (of active subscribers — an M:Metrics statistic). Overall, we now have approximately 20% of the USA subscriber base now sending at least one MMS each month.