WE HAVE SPENT more than 3000 euro in data charges with Three Ireland to power two different iPad since 2010 but after being charged €689.91 for "out of allowance" usage, it's time to cut our losses.
Our shockingly high mobile data usage happened during a week after we lost eir fibre service in our home. Because of COVID, I teach 85 students using Microsoft Teams and Zoom from home. My wife supports Tipperary County Council eDevelopment services while also working at home in these challenging times. We had to share a MiFi connection using Three data services for the third week in November when normal eir service failed. I was on a legacy 30GB a month plan with Three. From my past experience, when I approached the monthly limit, the data service would slow down and stop. Since I have rarely used the MiFi since the start of COVID, I knew I had 30GB of data available for the week. As the work week unfolded, we burned around seven gigabytes of data between two laptops and one iPad. It looked like we could make the data limits stretch until the 25th of the month when a new allocation of 30GB would roll onto my account. We didn't stay under 30GB because we let the MiFi power Netflix and Amazon Prime during the weekend of 21-22 Nov. Now Three Ireland demands more than 600 euro in payment.
It's infuriating to know that Three Ireland's network can detect the amount of data someone is using and that network speeds are throttled accordingly. Three Ireland knows exactly what a customer is doing when connected to the data network. Like all ISPs, Three keeps records of services used and sites visited. But instead of keeping a data customer well inside contracted limits, Three Ireland grooms data customers similar to loan sharks who prey on pay day clients.
I remember when I specified getting an iPad with both WiFi and cellular data service. I knew the difference the data SIM would make when in crowded settings like the RDS with crowds of students seeking advice for CAO courses. For 10 years, the tablets I carried in to schools and convention centres worked flawlessly, showcasing student work and third level options. For 10 years, I stayed within the 30GB data cap every month. Until Three billed me for out of allowance data, I was going to keep the data SIMs running in another iPad and possibly in an LTE Surface Book. But I cannot condone the predatory pricing practice that I have to endure now.
Not having a data SIM in our iPad Mini will reduce some of our field work with third level students and youth outreach we do in County Tipperary. I'm currently seeking advice from seasoned MiFi users because I want to continue using our tablets for teaching and learning in the field.