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T-Mobile G1: 1GB Monthly Cap?
New $25, $35 plans come with some fine print
by Karl Bode 01:06PM Tuesday Sep 23 2008
The T-Mobile HTC G1 (aka Dream) unveiling this morning disclosed the few details that hadn't been leaked already -- namely the phone price-tag and these rumored new T-Mobile data plans. While presenting on rollerskates, the Google/T-Mobile union unveiled that the G1 will be sold at a price point of $179, assuming you're willing to sign up for a two year contract and accept a serious bit of fine print. The new data plans (which require phone plans) made just for the G1: $25 for "unlimited" web & some text messages (not defined yet, but likely 200) or $35 with "unlimited" data and messaging.

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Like the iPhone, there will be no (official) tethering of the unit for use as a modem. There's also no Exchange support. Like the iPhone, T-Mobile and Google have developed an application store, but there's no approval process for applications, which could be good or bad depending on the quality of the finished product.

The G1 is cheaper than the iPhone at a two-year contract subsidized price of $179, has a fully retractable keyboard, and it looks like SMS bundling is slightly less expensive than Apple and AT&T's offering. Still, the lack of a rabid cult following aside, the G1 is not going to dethrone the Apple iPhone for some very obvious reasons. The biggest one? It's the network, stupid.

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For one, the phone is on the smallest of all 3G networks. T-Mobile insists that they'll have HSDPA up and running in twenty one markets by mid-october when the phone officially launches -- and twenty seven markets by year's end. AT&T got a pretty sound beating for releasing the iPhone 3G with more than 200 HSDPA-enabled markets.

Unlike AT&T, which sells the phone in EDGE and HSDPA markets alike, T-Mobile won't won't sell the G1 at stores outside a 2-5 mile radius of their 3G coverage area. Pure EDGE customers can sign up if the slow speeds don't annoy them. On top of limited 3G deployment, users also need to note that once again, the use of the word "unlimited" in this industry means anything but. From the fine print on the T-Mobile website:
If your total data usage in any billing cycle is more than 1GB, your data throughput for the remainder of that cycle may be reduced to 50 kbps or less. Your data session, plan, or service may be suspended, terminated, or restricted for significant roaming or if you use your service in a way that interferes with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users
Just so we have this straight: not only will the majority of T-Mobile customers be relegated to slower EDGE speeds (200kbps if you're lucky), you'll find your service throttled back to 50kbps (or less) should you consume more than 1GB per month. Once again, we're witnessing a next-generation phone hoisted upon a last-generation wireless network and business mentality.

Some additional details for those interested: a 3.17" 65K color touchscreen running at HVGA (480×320) resolution; 3.1MP camera; 5.6 ounces; 4.60” x 2.16” x 0.62”; 5 hours of talk time (130 hours of standby); requires GMail account; Syncs with all Google apps; push Gmail; preloaded with Amazon's music store; GSM/GPRS/EDGE/Wi-Fi and UMTS/HSDPA.

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