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O2 ditch 'unlimited' mobile broadband on new Smartphone contracts
Thursday 10 June 2010 16:53:51 by John Hunt

O2 have decided to move away from selling 'unlimited' mobile broadband data on their new Smartphone contracts that are launching on 24th June with the new iPhone 4, instead favouring set limits giving users bundled options of up to 1GB of data.

"We know that customers are looking for clarity in pricing as too many offers have clauses and catches which are not easy to understand. With the wide range of Internet based services now available on mobile devices we're providing customers with generous clear data bundles that give customers freedom. This enables us to provide a better overall experience for the vast majority of customers and to better manage demand."

Ronan Dunne, (CEO) O2

Unlimited UK Wi-Fi through The Cloud and BT Openzone hotspots is still included along with unlimited text messages. O2 are however running a promotional offer until the 1st of October 2010 which grants unlimited data usage on all smartphone tariffs subject to excessive usage policy. From then on, additional data can be purchased as a bolt on, if required, for £5 for each 500MB. Existing customers on current 'unlimited' data contracts will see no change to their terms where an excessive usage policy is also applied.

New O2 smartphone tariffs from June 24th 2010
UK Minutes 100 300 600 900 1200 Unlimited
UK Data 500MB 500MB 500MB 750MB 750MB Unlimited
UK Texts Unlimited
UK Wi-Fi Unlimited
24 Month Cost £25 £30 £35 £40 £45 £60
18 Month Cost £30 £35 £40 £45 £50 £65

With O2's recently launched campaign to "nobble broadband niggles" and their over(mis)use of the term 'unlimited' it's good to see clarity drawn to new tariffs being launched with clear limits on what data can be used. This could be to the detriment of some users though who may find their previously high usage curtailed. O2 think this will only affect 3% of users though as 97% of O2 smartphone customers use less than 500MB a month. Considering these users will be on a 18 or 24 month contract, this may not continue to be the case as people get further into their contracts at more rich content becomes available for mobile users.


Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
ah, data data everywhere but not a drop to drink... the mobile companies are starting to struggle now, time to get some fibre to the masts? NGA is calling. Iphones are opening up a new world of citizen journalists, audio and videoboos abound. It all takes up data transfer. It all costs money. Are we going to see the end of 'unlimited' (subject to fair usage) ;) at last?
Posted by Guest_Again over 7 years ago
Took words out of my mouth re the [new] iPhone 4, when it is released, cyberdoyle.
O2 et al make PLENTY of money out of us all. As I've said before, this millennia shall forever be known for it's GREED.

Posted by billbuchan over 7 years ago
Hardly surprising. They can barely keep the network they have already running - check out my long running campaign at

---* Bill
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
This sucks and an addition to the reasons I'll be leaving them this summer.

Originally this meant you could do 2.5GB a month without getting moaned at.

My other reason for moving is they "speed shape", mobiles get less priority ~0.5Mbps and dongles 2.5Mbps (tested with same sim), my mobile on the Vodafone network can do ~2.5Mbps.

Looks like I'll be getting the Vodafone 300 plan with 3GB mbb added on.
Posted by krazykizza over 7 years ago
You'd be suprised to know a lot of the phone masts are on fibre. Three are even going on extra step by upgrading some to 1gbps. 500mb is not a lot and I am very happy I switched to a 12mth simplicity plan 2mths before this. Plenty of other deals out there, but for what you loose, you gain texts.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Cyber, mobile companies can have fibre access now. You've been able to order fibre access for businesses for years. Don't confuse the current copper last mile limitations for homes with what businesses can buy. If you want 10Mb, 100Mb or 1Gb or multiples of via fibre you can have it now, nothing else is needed no need to wait.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
aye Gman99 I know they can have fibre, but the rural ones around here are still on microwave links. Just sayin. The mobiles now need to build more masts, with fibre feeds to cope with data demands. Too many nimbys in urban areas, but masts can look like trees, and would be very welcome on our farms... but the profit is in urban areas until everyone starts moaning when they lose their signal on 'days out in the countryside' ;)
Posted by djfunkdup over 7 years ago
oh well.....about time the apple iphone fan boys start to pay more anyway..they play with there phones too much taking up bandwidth.plenty of people that cant get good adsl/cable need that bandwidth for decent dongle net connections.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Well the only thing stopping that is the tight mobile companies, if they got their act together they could feed fibre to the mast and use it for both mobile+data and wireless internet, two birds one stone.
Posted by krazykizza over 7 years ago
djfunkdup you couldn't be more wrong, whats the point paying out for a high end phone when your network wants you to pay big for it. you can't expect the smartphone consumer base to support broadband connections in rural areas, thats just ludicrous.
Posted by djfunkdup over 7 years ago
who said anything about rural areas..?.plenty of people in urban areas using mobile not against holding back any type of internet data flow.all i am saying is that there is not enough capacity and i think mobile/dongle net connections should come first,,before iphone users playing with there apps...;)
Posted by bosie over 7 years ago
We can thank devices like the iPhone for the investment in the mobile Internet space. Without this revolution I doubt the networks would be anywhere close to modernisation. It seems O2 have singled out this device for having the breaks applied. There will consequences for O2, starting with reputation. Their now forced policy of ensuring images look poor quality on the web contradicts the new iPhone Retina Display. Another reason to avoid O2.
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
Meh. Mobile BB was always going to have contention issues. It's a fundamental feature of the technology. The entire history of cellular networks has been a fight against contention.

Everyone within the same cell is always fighting for the mast. There's only so many frequencies they can use so they have to build more masts. That reduces the size of the cell.

The end point is one cell per property - otherwise known as wifi with a fixed line connection.
Posted by krazykizza over 7 years ago
djfunkdup, we are paying customers like everyone else. we pay our fair share and expect a quality service. everyone should have fair access with no priority. if you ran the country it would be in flames by now.
Posted by krazykizza over 7 years ago
djfunkdup, we are paying customers like everyone else. we pay our fair share and expect a quality service. everyone should have fair access with no priority. if you ran the country it would be in flames by now.
Posted by deana over 7 years ago
Currently I use around 2gb of Data a month (12 hour security shifts are so dull) and have yet to hear a complaint from 02, so to drop it to 500 is awfull, I was considering taking the early upgrade offer as I have 10 months left, but it seems it would make more sence to buy the phone on pay as you go like I did the 3gs and keep my contract and unlimited data, then look at what the others are offering when my contract is up for renewal. silly silly 02
Posted by djfunkdup over 7 years ago
Currently I use around 2gb of Data a month (12 hour security shifts are so dull)..??..this is what i am talking are paid to do a job..not paid to play with your iphone using up and wasting valuable bandwidth..
Posted by deana over 7 years ago
Firstly, no Im paid to sit being a desk in a unused office and stare at a wall, and unless youve been in that situation, dire bordom ill ask you to resurve judgment on the morals of playing with my Iphone at work.

Secondly, I signed up for contract, the contract stated the data was unlimited, what I do with that data is up to me, its valuable to me regardless of what you use your data for and what you consider valuable.

dont feed the trolls.
Posted by djfunkdup over 7 years ago
oh you are paid to be a desk..??..;)gawd i learn something new every day right enough..
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
@dju:Not literally but that kind of job does exist. Even mine (software developer) sometimes leaves me at a loose end or in need of a distraction to clear a mental block. Luckily my employer understands that and as long as it doesn't adversely affect my work they don't care.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
The bottleneck is between the mast and dongle/mobile, as long as the backhaul is higher than the (tech speed)*(# of channels).

3G tech itself is the problem, masts just need to be updated with better tech.

LTE will really be the game changer. Looking at a minimum of 172Mbps per mast rather than 21Mbps.
Posted by krazykizza over 7 years ago
I'm guessing djfunkdup is a child.
Posted by AndrueC over 7 years ago
@otester:That is a big improvement. But if a mast covers 1,000km2 then it could be serving 100 active users even in a rural area. That would be 1.7Mb/s per user even assuming those furthest away still got the 'full whack'.

I'm assuming 20km mast radius here. Presumably it's lower in built up areas.
Posted by jt2354 over 7 years ago
Fairly cheesed off with O2. Only switched to get away from a 1GB "fair use" policy - also hidden when I originally signed up for it.

While in theory users who signed up for unlimited contracts are still unlimited, I've seen it implied that such users will have a speed clamp assigned to their traffic such that data will be scaled back to... zero?

There's no real competition in the market with users confined to signing up to such long-term contracts.
Posted by inkpen over 7 years ago
Weren't O2, Voda & Orange's original "unlimited" deals unlimited at 250mb max a month? (I may tell my kids that they can have unlimited sweeties, subject to a fair use policy of 10 sweeties per month.) I don't know why the ASA or Ofcom hasn't come down heavily on the term "unlimited" - very few have ever really been "unlimited" (meaning "without limit"?)
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