NextG launches updated Mobile Foxtel... but...

samsungfoxtel.jpgThat first edition version of Mobile Foxtel was one of the biggest jokes ever to hit a network that often makes jokes at the expense of its customers. That so-called Foxtel was looped, and stale, content, and the terms of use said you couldn't use more than 15 minutes at a time or they'd bump you. You know, half way through that episode of a show you were just watching? It was okay, though, because you'd seen it a year ago...

Now Telstra has stepped up to deliver a far more substantial Foxtel package for your mobile. And at its WORST, we're talking about $18 per month for 30-some channels of streaming TV. Plus Foxtel iQ owners will be able to set their box to record from their mobile. If you really want to bitch about that, then I'm afraid I'll have to call you a whiney little bitch.

No, I'd rather bitch about something else.

THEY ARE STILL TALKING 15 MINUTE PER SESSION, 200 MINUTE PER MONTH LIMITS!

I've got more where that came from. Read on, dear friend, read on.The handset experience is excellent. Samsung has customised their new Widescreen handset for the Mobile Foxtel deal, and there is a new mobile EPG that looks great and lets you browse other channels and what is on, or up next, while you're still watching something else - like with a real TV. The clamshell handset uses a standard flip for making calls, or flips sideways to suit widescreen viewing. It has a full QWERTY too, though the buttons are far too small for my meaty hands.

The handset is generally a goodun, with 7.2Mb HSDPA support, 2.0Mp camera + VGA camera, MP3/AAC player, stereo speakers, A2DP support, and the screen is 2.3-inches at 320x240.

So. Handset + EPG = Good. Telstra NextG rules of use = BAD!

It is ridiculous to offer a big, tasty mobile TV service if you don't want someone to use it every day. It would be very easy to use 30 minutes per day, even each way, on a commute. But at that rate they could cut you off in less than two weeks of your working days each month. It may be that they won't enforce too harshly, but you shouldn't have to enter into a service like this with such restrictions when they're charging almost $20/month for the privilege. And when your ads say "you can get 24 hour access", that should mean all you can eat.

We also still have the disclaimer "content and session times may vary from TV." This says 'loops ahoy' to me, like the first time around, and the marketing materials do indicate that of the 33 channels on offer, 19 are 'unique to Telstra customers'. This includes special WWE, Union, and news channels, but does unique here just mean specially prepared content that loops on a regular schedule? If it does, it may mean that you can (hopefully) expect about 14 channels of actual TV.

I'd like to confirm one way or the other on the above, but today is launch day for the service and so far I haven't been able to subscribe to the full package due to 'technical difficulties'. I'll revisit the experience once I've had time to really spend some time - and I'll test the theory on how quickly they cut you off if you overuse the service, too. Let's say we'll meet here around this time next week for more. [Mobile Foxtel]