The hidden cost of mobile music

[intro]Omnifone's MusicStation aims to make every mobile a music phone, but are we really ready for downloads on the go?[/intro] Last week we brough

Last week we brought you news of MusicStation, a service that will offer access to millions of tracks direct to your mobile all for 2 quid a week – so far so cheap. But what about the data charges for using your 3G connection? Over Christmas I found out, to my wallet’s horror, just how expensive they can be.

Spending the festive season at my parents’ house, I was stuck in a relatively tech impoverished household for a week. Yes, I had my iPod with me, and my Nokia N73 but the rest of my toys were back in London.

I resorted to checking my mail and doing some general surfing on my 3G connection, safe in the knowledge that general web browsing doesn’t take up too much bandwidth and wouldn’t hit me too hard in the bank balance.

Oh how wrong I was. Smack bang in the middle of my Christmas come down I was hit with a huge bill for web usage that worked out at £2.50 per megabyte. All for the privilege of a bit of MySpace banter and picking up the odd email. I’d hate to imagine how much a week of unlimited music downloading would cost.

As far as I’m aware, Three’s X-Series is the only tariff that charges a flat rate for net use allowing you to download until you’ve had your fill of fresh tunes. But until it becomes standard and I can browse and download without fearing for my cash, I’m steering clear of music on the go.