RealTime IT News

AvantGo Quietly Moves to Charge for Channels

Hoping to stave off a pattern of abuse that it owes largely to its largesse, wireless software maker AvantGo Inc. , quietly announced this week that it is now charging for its custom channels should a person wish to host more than eight subscribers.

The Hayward, Calif. firm had previously offered free the channel option for individual users who wished to use it for personal use, but apparently businesses have gone a bit overboard with it, prompting the firm to revise its Custom Channel policy as of Feb. 20. Custom channels, crafted with the company's Channel Developer Guide, are designed for users of mobile gadgets -- personal digital assistants (PDAs), communicators and so forth.

AvantGo, whose mobile service sports some 4.5 million customers, explained its policy change on its site: "Since the AvantGo Mobile Internet service's inception, our policy has stated that Custom Channels are for personal, non-business use only. Over the years, many organizations have ignored this policy, delivering business-related content and applications to hundreds of users for free via the service."

This abuse has had consequences, as AvantGo said the policy change will be use to defray the costs associated with additional bandwidth and infrastructure for the growing number of users on Custom Channels. The firm compared its hardened stance to ISPs, which are paid to host content, and dial-up or TCP/IP providers who deliver business e-mail.

The service is still free to end users, but those who wish to serve more than eight subscribers must enter into a payment-for-service contract with the AvantGo Mobile Internet service.

Price levels include $1,000 for nine to 100 users; $4,000 for 101 to 500 users; and $6,000 for 501 to 1,000 users.