Wireless Internet: Good idea, bad wireless carriers

You can expect to pay anywhere between $55 and $80 for a data+voice plan from a mobile carrier for what they call the "convenience of mobile Internet." The problem is for that price, you get something between mediocre and acceptable data speeds as well as a having your total data capped at something close to 5GB a month. All of this leaving out the fact that you are probably paying another $20 to $50 a month at home for internet service.

Faced with having to pay over $100 a month for internet service most people are just not choosing their wireless carriers. Essentially a chicken versus egg problem. High data plan costs are remain high because of the small number of users making use of the services. Dropping prices could attract substantially more customers—but would it be enough to enough to cover the costs of these networks? At some point, the carriers will have to be more aggressive with their pricing, because as long as the data plans remain high, widespread adoption will be low.

So where does that leave customers? We're waiting for a catalyst, a must-have device that will throw the mobile Internet providers into a vicious competition for users that will see them devoting their attention to more than just business users and corporate accounts. Will the iPhone be that device? Maybe, but I doubt it can do it alone. There are plenty of big players trying to make this happen, and right now both Microsoft and RIM have a sizable lead on Apple, and Symbian isn't doing too bad, either.