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O2 launches 4G services with data bonus if you sign up early
Thursday 29 August 2013 09:58:33 by Andrew Ferguson

O2 has now officially launched its 4G range and for those who sign up before 31st October there are data bonuses available, the 3GB tariff will come with 5GB of data per month and the 5GB package will be upgraded to 8GB.

Price wise SIM only packages will range from 1GB for £26/month to 5GB for £36/month. The price range if you take an O2 handset is £22 (1GB) through to £37 (8GB), but you also have to add the price of the mobile device which will be in the range of £10 to £25. No details on mobile broadband tariffs as yet.

So now we have Vodafone, O2 and EE all selling 4G you could say it is a competitive market, but we would temper that by saying there is now a choice of provider, but competition has done little to drive down pricing. For example extra usage at O2 via bolt-ons will cost £6 for 0.5GB or £10 for 1GB.

What can you do with a 8GB monthly data allowance? Well it is not a shed load of stuff, unless your attention span is measured in nanoseconds.

Activity Duration Estimated Usage
Email (text only) 20 per day 0.1GB
Web browsing (standard sites 10 hours 2 GB
Social network status updates 5 hours 0.25 GB
Streamed music 15 hours 3.5GB
Video streaming (SD quality) 2 hours 2 GB
  Total: 7.85 GB

We asked O2 on twitter about the various content teaser options, such as the Priority Sports and whether these count towards your usage allowance, and while the sports will count, the online gaming will not. Still waiting to hear back from Vodafone UK about whether the Sky Sports is metered or not.

There is no doubt that the extra speed is welcome, and technically 4G should be able to provide a better experience in the busy periods, but we were all thinking the same when 3G arrived to replace GPRS.

In theory 4G is one of the technical solutions to the digital divide that exists in the UK and most of the world, but until mobile data costs decrease we are unlikely to see widespread adoption as a fixed broadband replacement.

Update 1:15pm Vodafone UK has got back to us and confirmed that the Sky Sports streaming will count against your data allowance.

Comments

Posted by camieabz over 3 years ago
The beeb's article:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23868082

"Vodafone's 4G will initially be limited to parts of London, while O2 will launch in London, Leeds and Bradford.

One analyst said this indicated the networks were "soft-pedalling" 4G and the UK could lag behind other nations."

Sounds like broadband rollouts. Only interested in the big cities.
Posted by adamtemp over 3 years ago
Some users speed results can be found on the o2 forums in this thread http://community.o2.co.uk/t5/Welcome-News/4G-Tariffs/m-p/515446#M6649
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
@camiabz: A mast covers more people in built-up areas and mast backhaul tends to be shorter. Remember - they aren't interested in providing a service. They are interested in making a profit.

At least it'll give us some real-world feedback on how well it performs. I'm (slightly tongue in cheek) predicting it will perform as well in an urban settings as 3G does in a rural setting :)
Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago
@AndrueC

'At least it'll give us some real-world feedback on how well it performs. I'm (slightly tongue in cheek) predicting it will perform as well in an urban settings as 3G does in a rural setting :) .........'

So not at all then :)
Posted by adamtemp over 3 years ago
Th o2 coverage checker suggests 4g is not just in the london leeds and bradford area but parts outside the m25 which are not in any london borough so the launch is wider than claimed if the checker is correct http://www.o2.co.uk/coveragechecker
Posted by -Alex- over 3 years ago
So, yet another mobile operator trying to bundle "useful" services with their 4G package. They expect people to pay extra each month to be able to access 4G when the service area isn't even that good.

My mobile provider is a dumb pipe for calls, SMS and mobile internet, nothing more.

Hopefully O2 will eventually realise that 4G is just the next generation which people expect, a more efficient bandwidth technology which they shouldn't charge extra for.
Posted by mervl over 3 years ago
Expensive: toys, aren't they?
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
I'm still wondering what anyone would use it for. Streaming video - on a tiny screen? WAP using a mobile phone as a dongle - lousy allowances.

What do people actually do on their phones that will benefit from high speed transfer but yet doesn't require a lot of data to be downloaded? Surely the real benefit is to the operator in being able to cram more people on one mast.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 3 years ago
Well I sure hope this forces EE to sort their 4G out - they have a very thin blanket of 4G just because that's all they needed. Now they should ( I hope) turn it up to a real network.

This blanket causes my local cell to be limited to 8mbps 24/7 but down the road I can get 25+

If they don't sort it out I will try o2 before I end up on 3 in the future.
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
@AndrueC

Not all of us are OAP's that hate technology.
Posted by AndrueC over 3 years ago
No some of you are young and either can't read or make wild assumptions without evidence.

I didn't say I hated technology. I just asked a perfectly reasonable question - what will people be doing with this technology?
Posted by herdwick over 3 years ago
I stood next to someone on the tube watching a movie on an iPad, and apparently a lot of Radtio 4 PM listeners do so on smartphones. A quick download of media for playing off line might be one use case ?
Posted by herdwick over 3 years ago
What frequency bands please ?
Posted by camieabz over 3 years ago
@AndrueC

Speedtests! ;)
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
@AndrueC

One use even if you aren't an avid smartphone/tablet user is tethering, a lot of people with poor landline options opt for mobile internet instead, this can also be used on go the as well for laptops.
Posted by adamtemp over 3 years ago
o2 is 4g band 20 800mhz vodafone is same plus 2.6ghz band 7 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_LTE_networks#Europe
Posted by mervl over 3 years ago
Comsuming snippets of information - especially mutimedia - is the modern way. And the advertising and gambling industries which underpin much of modern commerce thrive on such snippets. So low data allowances lead to much better income generation for everyone, both in subscriptions and, perhaps as importantly, commissions. And the network has to be paid for somehow.
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
Well some must have money to burn, the price being charged for data is extortionate, in particular the prices charged for additional bolt on data , thank's but no thank's
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
@mervl

And what about those businesses that rely on 3G?

Also advertising/gambling industry? They can go jump in front of a bus for all I care.
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