GlobalComm: RIM cautions carriers

During a keynote address at GlobalComm in Chicago, RIM president and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis warned attendees that carriers need to be very careful about unlimited, wireless data plans: "Now matter how you slice it, bandwidth is not free," he said. "We want companies to be encouraged to make efficient use of the network, so we don't cross over and use up all the capacity of networks." Three of the four major U.S. carriers--Verizon Wireless, Cingular and Sprint--offer unlimited data plans for about $80 a month.

Lazaridis' contention is that as wireless data usage becomes more pervasive, these plans could have a devastating effect on the industry. While the average voice-only user clocks 500 minutes of airtime or about 45MB of capacity per month, a user with an unlimited data plan who watches 15 minutes of video per day, reads at least three articles from a mobile Web site and checks email using his company's VPN uses about 1.6GB of capacity per month. Lazaridis said that's tantamount to 20,000 minutes per month.

For more on RIM's president's keynote:
- see this article from CNET