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.
|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|
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.