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FAQ: The Data Plans

So considering to get a data plan after getting your smartphone? Be it a BlackBerry or Android, what are the different plans that the telco’s are giving us? Which is more suitable?What is BIS?
BIS stands for Blackberry Internet Service. Basically, this is a service from your provider that lets you receive email and access the internet on personal Blackberries. BIS differs from BES, or Blackberry Enterprise Server, in that BIS retrieves personal email whereas BES retrieves corporate email and is tied to a corporate entity.

What kind of usage does BIS cover?
BIS covers the data usage clocked on Blackberry devices. Plans from our 3 Telco’s (M1, Singtel, Starhub) are either 1GB or 3GB.
Tethering isn’t usually covered but for our case, M1 and Starhub covers all data network usage, which means tethering all these are covered. On the other hand, Singtel does not cover tethering or wifi hotspot or use of other browsing methods such as Opera Mini, on its VAS for 1GB or 3GB (but covered in its bundled plans such as BlackBerry Flexi).
All the plans cover basic data usage – meaning you can:
– surf the internet
– use RIM’s official applications and services, and
– use most 3rd party applications.

So how does BIS work?
Data transmitted via BIS are handled securely by the Blackberry Servers. These are all encrypted along the network, so it won’t be easily accessible or even readable by others as opposed to other devices or normal network.

For emails, the BlackBerry email servers will check for new messages every fifteen minutes by default. If it does find a new message, the message is compressed, and the first 2kb of data is then pushed to the device. For the next fifteen minutes, the BIS will check every three minutes for new mail. If no new mail is found within that second set of fifteen minutes, the server reverts to again checking once every fifteen minutes. As long as the server finds new mail within that time frame, it will continue to check every three minutes. This does not, however, apply to all email accounts. If the email server, has been configured and has BlackBerry FastMail enabled, it will be pushed to you in a jiffy. It can also be synced in this kind of instances. Of course, not forgetting the BlackBerry level 3 integration, if enabled, woll be even faster. An example would be Google Mail. The BIS server remains constantly connected to these services, and will push new email automatically to the device, without the fifteen minute interval.

However, it is good to note that it is a known fact that there is severe lags for Hotmail services. It may take up to a few hours for it to be pushed to your device.

What about the other kind of data available such as Singtel Flexi, Starhub’s SmartSurf and M1’s Sunsurf?
These are known as iphone/android plans or generic data plan, which can also be termed as BBOM. BBOM is the short form for BroadBand on mobile. It may come in different names from the different telcos. It essentially provides the internet-capable device with the capability to go online, and can cover plenty of bundled data from 1GB to unlimited. (As of 1 July, it would be 2GB to 12GB)

However, when BBOM is used on Blackberry phones, you might be able to use it to go online and use certain online 3rd party apps. However, you can’t use the email client or official Blackberry services. This is because such services fall under the umbrella of “Official RIM Developed Applications”. Even order to use it, you need to set the TCP/IP (APN) on the device, though there might be other things to be done on later models.

When taken in light of the above, it can be seen that the Blackberry is in a completely different league. It is in a class of its own. This is because in addition to being able to surf the internet and use 3rd party applications, the Blackberry, unlike the iPhone, also has official applications (which are secured) developed by RIM. These official RIM applications include the Blackberry’s main emailing service, which is deemed to be the industry’s most robust and secure.

This also explains why Blackberries cannot receive emails to their main inbox via BBOM. Emails and official Blackberry apps are routed through the official Blackberry Servers and handled securely to your device. BBOM on the other hand, routes directly to the host servers and through the telco’s airwaves only, which are sent in plain text. As such, Blackberry devices cannot receive emails into their main inbox via BBOM, but can do so via BIS or BES. Alternatively, Blackberry devices may also receive emails via BBOM but by using 3rd party emailing applications, and not RIM’s default emailing service. Now this is again, not a 100% working alternative for various reasons though with the right settings, it will work.

So, in short, BBM is a 100% native and BIS-only application, so is Facebook (for the “via BlackBerry” wording).

Whatsapp, a popular messaging service is also usable on BBOM, though disconnection can be persistant (though most persistant disconnections occur on non-local units for some unknown reasons) without BIS connection.

Via FAQ:
About BIS
About BBOM

Category: FAQ's

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