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O2 launches its mobile broadband product
Saturday 19 April 2008 15:39:43 by Andrew Ferguson

O2 Mobile Broadband giving speeds up to 1.8Mbps (megabits per second) will be available from 1st May, with speeds starting to increase across the network up to 3.6Mbps from June. Existing O2 customers can get the service for £20 a month so long as your primary O2 account remains active during the minimum term. For those who are not an O2 customer already, the service will cost £30 a month. A USB modem (that supports speeds of 7.2Mbps HSDPA and 2.1Mbps HSUPA) is included.

Your monthly fee buys you 3GB of usage, with data above this figure being charged at 20p per MegaByte (£200 per GB). The small print for the product reveals that until 31st October 2008 the usage charge is being waived, though an excessive usage policy does exist.

A big bonus of the product is that it includes access to some 7,500 Wi-Fi hot spots via The Cloud. The usage when on Wi-Fi is described as unlimited but subject to an excessive usage policy again. A single device unlimited Wi-Fi account at The Cloud normally costs £6.99 a month.

Two contract options are available, a one month minimum term if you pay £119.99 for the modem upfront, or an eighteen month contract with the modem included free. For O2 Pay & Go customers to continue to qualify for the £20 rather than £30 monthly fee they will need to carry out £30 or more of top-up per quarter.

The range of mobile broadband products on the market now offer a reasonably attractive alternative to the costs of installing and renting a landline and paying for broadband on top. While the data limits and technology are somewhat constraining for those who are into watching video or play first person shooters, for many people the ability to have a product not tied to a physical location is useful. Including hot-spot access in the product is a neat touch, and gives people the ability to do very large downloads over Wi-Fi rather than use up their mobile data allowance.


Posted by bosie over 9 years ago
It's good to see new products and especially alternatives to land line connections, but, at £30 for 3 gigabytes, I don't foresee a rush of customers wanting to sign up. I'd pay £10 for this product as it is. Cloud, like BT Openzone is predominantly an 802.11b network and from my own experience is likely to perform slower than O2 Mobile Broadband assuming the advertised speed is actually achievable.
Posted by kamelion over 9 years ago
How can they justify £200 per GB for excessive usage?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
By preying on the fools who use mobile broadband.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
£200 per GB i seen profiteering at a level higher than BT now.
Posted by uniquename over 9 years ago
Clearly designed to cater for minor overruns without a hard cap and make it quite clear it is for typical bb use.

As Andrew points out it can avoid the cost of a landline, and recent figures make it clear the majority of broadband customers use less than 3GBpm. 3GB covers several hours browsing per day, quite a few emails, MS updates that not many mobile phones will need, internet shopping and banking.
Posted by uniquename over 9 years ago
I presume it will still be possible to connect to a computer and use it as a modem, so MS downloads - but that's not a problem.

So it isn't profiteering as they don't expect anyone to go there. It is to prevent the system clogging up.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
The idea of the USB modem in this article is that it connects to PC and Mac i.e. this tarrif is not for a mobile phone.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
uniquename - and all it needs is a few sites with embedded flash videos and a few windows update and utility downloads, and whoops, you're at the 10th and stuffed. (Or worse, at the 12th and realising you now owe £25 extra..)

It's stupid.
Posted by uniquename over 9 years ago
@Andrew - Oops, I got carried away and forgot the starting point :).

@Dawn_Falcon - I managed the activities I posted about with no problem on 2GBpm, for the last 14 months I have had 3GBpm, and I admit it is now always close.
Posted by uniquename over 9 years ago
But I do far, far more on the net than the typical 1-2GB in the figures I quote, and find the only time I have a problem is if I do several speed tests a day, (when I have a reason to do so as 90% of speed tests are inherently pointless), and this month when I have done exactly that. I shall need an extra GB! On the O2 package I would just have avoided the speed tests and had no problem.

High-bandwidth applications like iPlayer I can understand, though why anyone would use them frequently is beyond me.
Posted by uniquename over 9 years ago
Routine high-usage downloading I dealt with before - the product is specifically designed to avoid that.

What utility downloads?

The majority of posters on these forums, (as opposed to the ones who come for advice), seem to think they are typical of internet users.


By normal standards I am a high user.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
you have to laugh at this obsession with Windows downloads - Vista SP1 is less than 0.5 GB and many Metronet users had PCs that didn't exceed 300 MB/month of traffic - browsing, email, updates and all.
Posted by daringdave over 9 years ago
herdwick - I agree. I have kept Windows XP up to date with its numerous updates, plus various security s/w etc up to date, and downloaded sundry pieces of s/w, and light browsing, and not exceeded 350 MB per month - usually considerably less. It's the 18 months contract I don't like; I agree it is optional but the excess for monthly seems excessive. I don't know if I'll be on this planet in 18 months - let alone how my internet access characteristcs will measure up.
Posted by Rroff over 9 years ago
Thats fine but if you want to stream some music (even at 96-128kbit) for a couple of hours or so each day, maybe use bbc iplayer a little, throw in some game updates, maybe download a game on steam - nothing out the ordinary for a rapidly increasing number of people - you've easily used 3gigs of data...
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
3 Gb per month is 100 MB per day or 7 kbytes/s for 4 hours per day ie more than 4 hours per day of flat out dialup.

If you want 10s or hundreds of GB you would be mental to be thinking of using a mobile service.
Posted by bosie over 9 years ago
Ok so i tried the service for a couple of days - speeds not too bad 1Mbps/400kbps but O2 are using compression and web pages look truly awful. The supplied drivers do not allow web acceleration to be switched off.
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