Last week I attended IIR's Next Generation Billing 2009 conference in Berlin. An excellent conference which provided the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.
It's interesting to reflect how my usage of mobile devices changes from trip to trip. Last week's visit to Berlin was my first trip overseas since I acquired an iPhone. Previously I had tended to make extensive use of my laptop for checking emails but this time I only fired up my laptop once. The rest of the time I relied on my iPhone for sending and receiving emails. The iPhone handles emails so well that it made my laptop redundant for the three days I was away. Previously I had used a BlackBerry but much prefer using the iPhone, in part because of the way it renders emails.
The conference hotel had excellent WiFi coverage despite being charged at an extortionate EUR 25 per day. Although I was armed with an iPass account, courtesy of AxiCom, unfortunately I wasn't able to use it because the hotel decided that charging outrageous rates for WiFi was better business than joining a WiFi aggregator! However the combination of hotel WiFi and iPhone was brilliant and did save on 3G data roaming costs.
I had been hoping that the guys at Truphone would be able to let me have a Truphone Local Anywhere SIM to try out. Unfortunately the product is not quite ready for launch; however I was able to use their SIM4travel product. SIM4travel has a number of benefits, including no charge to receive calls in about 40 countries worldwide and competitive calling rates. SMS rates in the EU are less competitive now the EU has capped rates but for anyone travelling between multiple countries it's a handy tool to have. Although Truphone has yet to announce pricing for Local Anywhere, I'm expecting it to be a great product for anyone spending time in more than one country.
When I visited the Netherlands back in the Summer I made a lot of use of my Nokia E63 on Vodafone because their Passport promotion meant that calls and SMS on their partner networks overseas were treated as 'in-bundle'. However sadly that was just a promotion and now regular roaming rates apply, so with every call and text chargeable, my Nokia E72 had a quiet couple of days!
So overall, the winners this trip were my iPhone & WiFi!