BEFORE LEAVING FOR a week-long visit to see my ailing mother in the States, I thought it would be prudent to earmark the cost of our airfare as the amount I would spend on accessing the internet while away from Ireland. It looks like that has proven to be a prudent gesture because we are on target to spending just under EUR 700 for the aggregate of data roaming with O2-Ireland, hotel internet access with Lodgenet and sporadic usage with Boingo.
As a data addict, I have to work at disconnecting from the cloud. My affliction affects millions of people who pinch, tap and zoom their way through data services in their daily lives. Truth be told, I wanted to remain hooked up to a flow of conversation coming through Nokia's podcatcher, Jaiku's mobile client, FreeNews' blog aggregator and Dabr's Twitter searches. But those services pale in comparison to real-time usage of Google Latitude while navigating traffic or planning a family event when underway on Amtrak.
We steered our way (see below) through thickening traffic in the Philadelphia commuter belt by using a combination of Google Latitude and Nokia Maps. After discovering the live usage of Google Latitude was costing around $50 an hour, we reacquainted ourselves with Nokia's free GPS solution. The GPS is free but the maps cost us less than one hour of data roaming with O2.
I discovered O2 are responding to inadvertent use of data services overseas by moving to a model where you need to explicitly state you want to activate mobile broadband while roaming. When you discuss this with O2, you could be persuaded to hook up to data roaming services, something that will cost you around a euro a megabyte while accessing the internet from outside Ireland.
I hope Pat Phelan has a counter-offer to this pricing schedule because I'm raising a daughter who will want to upstream her video clips without worrying about it costing her the same as a trans-Atlantic flight,
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