KPN Mobile plans combined Wi-Fi/GSM subscription but no all-in-one billing

KPN Mobile is planning on offering a combined Wi-Fi/GSM subscription before the end of 2003, according to Brian Stout of KPN Mobile.

KPN Mobile is planning on offering a combined Wi-Fi/GSM subscription before the end of 2003, according to Brian Stout of KPN Mobile.

This does not mean that customers will receive one bill for their GSM calls and Wi-Fi use. According to KPN Mobile, that’s going too far.

I don’t know about you but one of the main reasons why I would get a combined subscription is precisely the convenience of having all of these services consolidated in one bill. Why can’t KPN Mobile do this? Apparently it’s too complicated for them.

This does not surprise me at all. When I ordered GPRS service for my Handspring Treo 270 from KPN Mobile back in October 2002, I kept getting monthly bills showing an i-mode subscription. I never ordered i-mode, do not have an i-mode phone or i-mode service. It took me five months, repeated calls and letters to get this straigthened out.

At first, they told me that they did not distinguish between GPRS and i-mode subscriptions, and that anyone who ordered GPRS simply had the notation “i-mode” in his or her phone bill. That’s really strange and I hope they were not overcounting the number of i-mode users. I did not give up and sure enough, after five months, KPN Mobile told me that starting in August, my mobile phone bill will show a GPRS subscription and not i-mode. Five months to sort out a very simple billing problem!

Perhaps it’s just as well that KPN Mobile will not be combining Wi-Fi use and GSM/GPRS billing in one invoice. Given how much they screwed up my simple GPRS subscription, I hate to think how long it would take me to sort out a bill that includes Wi-Fi use as well.

Back to the interview with Brian Stout. He does not mention any prices so it’s anyone’s guess how much KPN will be charging for Wi-Fi. Given that there are a lot of free Wi-Fi hotspots these days, indeed even in luxury hotels like the Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, which is part of the Hamburg Hotspot project, I would be very reluctant to get the combined Wi-Fi/GSM subscription.