If you follow my blog or twitter (shameless plug FTW!), you know that I have recently got an unlimited data plan for my 3GS. As always I have taken the SIM only approach and managed to get the lockout period reduced to 1 year instead of the standard 2 years that most Philippine operators stick to. I got Call & Surf Unlimited from Sun Cellular. Which is 999/month Unlimited data, unlimited calls & SMS sun-to-sun. Pretty good deal especially if you are a city dweller and have a lot of contacts who use Sun.
The upside of having an unlimited data plan is I get to be connected all the time and anywhere (reception and coverage permitting, YMMV). In the case of Sun, it’s Metro Manila and major cities. The rep says you drop down to an 2G (read: GPRS) speed when their 3G is not available. I have not had the opportunity to road test this outside Metro Manila yet.
Another notch in the positive side is the peace of mind of not having to worry on how long I am connected or how much data I have used. Globe has already started offering an unlimited data plan but it costs twice as much as Sun’s and we all know how much Globe’s network sucks for me at least. I am pretty sure that Smart will offer something soon if only to one up Globe. I am not sure if I am willing to take out a 2nd data plan for my SMART line as I am still smarting (pun intended) for their refusal to remove the International Roaming deposit bullshit that they have foisted on subscribers.
The downside of having unlimited data on the smallest operator are of course you don’t get the best coverage or reception (although in my use case it has been pretty solid so far). Another issue is battery life. We all know that a device will use more juice if it is on 3G and it will also use more power to try and latch on to a weaker signal. So I find that I am charging my 3GS more and more. I plan to do more testing on this theory by swapping out my Sun SIM to my TreoPro and checking if it too will experience the same level of battery drain. Not really all that scientific but hey that’s what I have hehe. I will do a follow up post on how that goes.
Something that I have been trying to do is to use the data connection (that I am already paying for!) as a dumb pipe so that I don’t get charged with inter-operator fees and such. Services like email and twitter are great for this but alas there are still too few people using them on a regular basis and on their mobile for these to be a real replacement to SMS or straight up voice calls.