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Cellphones Communications United Kingdom Wireless Networking

O2 Scraps Unlimited Data Usage For Smartphones 272

Posted by Soulskill
from the falling-in-line dept.
Jagjr writes with news that O2, a major UK wireless provider, appears to be following in AT&T's footsteps by scrapping its unlimited data plan for smartphone customers. New customers, or ones who upgrade, will be capped at either 500MB or 1GB per month. Reader Barence adds this excerpt from PC Pro: In a blog post defending the new policy, O2's CEO claimed 0.1% of the network's users were consuming almost a third of the traffic, while the average O2 user consumes only 200MB of data. By PC Pro's calculations, that means those 26,000 heavy users are consuming an average of 65GB per month over a 3G connection. O2 had 26 million customer accounts at the start of 2010, so it has 26,000 heavy data users. 26 million x 200MB = 5,200,000,000 MB total data usage across the network per month. 5,200,000,000MB ÷ 3 = 1,733,333,333MB per month used by the 26,000 heavy data users. That means the average heavy data user consumes a staggering 66,666MB (so around 65GB) per month."
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O2 Scraps Unlimited Data Usage For Smartphones

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  • by nebular (76369) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:07PM (#32537698) Homepage

    I work for Rogers and Fido dealership here in Canada and I can say that the vast majority of smartphone users rarely go over 1gb and most even stay within 500mb (I've been shown the internal numbers). Hell I have a dealer line with 5gb and I find it rare for me to break 2gb without tethering.

    It's not the limits I have a problem with, it's the pricing. I'm sure the cost for O2's data plans are WAY higher than they need to be.

  • by PIBM (588930) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:07PM (#32537702) Homepage

    Considering that 3G allows usually something in the range of 5.2Mbps, that gives ~ 0.58MB per second effective throughput that you could record, or a total of 50 GB per day.

    Tether a computer, download all of your favorites movies or whatever, and 1.5TB can be yours in the month, which is quite a lot more than the '''so big''' 65GB per month that they advertised for their top 1/1000. Now, if they were to look at the top 1/10000, I wonder what it would be like :)

  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:09PM (#32537724) Homepage Journal

    They actually insisted this was accurate: "And indeed, when I put that scenario to O2’s press office, the spokesperson said that’s exactly what’s happening."

    Someone downloading 65GB per month needs to do over 2GB a day. Let's just say they can keep themselves in front of their phones and clicking away downloading for 12 hours a day ever day. That's a constant 47KB/sec worth of material. To *a phone*, nonstop. If these numbers are even remotely true, those heavy hitters have to be tethering their phones. If tethering is OK for O2, they should either cut that out of their AUP or say "tetherers will be forced up a pricing tier and capped" and leave the rest of the handset-only users be. This is basically the solution Verizon Wireless here in the US has come to; although it still wouldn't surprise me if they eventually went to a tier system with some silly explanation just as AT&T and O2 have done.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:20PM (#32537924) Journal

    It's unlimited TIME, not unlimited data. It says that in the contract, if you bother to read it before signing. And no I don't think the speaker exaggerated. Just over 66 GB per month is not that high. I probably reach that point myself, what with TV watching and movie downloading.

    What these companies should do, IMHO, is provide 1 GB per month and then if you want additional throughput, charge about 10 cents per extra gigabyte. If people want the data, they can pay for the extra burden on the network (extra electricity, et cetera).

  • by TomXP411 (860000) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:25PM (#32538020)

    I have no idea what O2's data transfer speeds are like, but look at the numbers:
    65GB/month is roughly 2GB/day
    2GB/day is roughly 83MB/hour
    83MB/hour is roughly 230Kbit/sec.

    This means that a few thousand customers are using their data connection 24/7 at an average rate of 230kbit/sec, or 8 hours a day at a rate of around 700kb/sec.

    Yes, that's excessive.

    But based on those numbers, you could bounce past 1GB in one day. Where is the balance here?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:33PM (#32538202)

    They can start by not calling 3gb, 1gb, 500mb (or even less in some cases) `unlimited`

    OK, so they had a plan they called 'Unlimited' which it seemingly was since some users were able to get more than 65GB in a month. Now they're canceling the 'Unlimited' plan for a plan they're not calling unlimited, because it is in fact limited. What are you complaining about again?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:36PM (#32538254)

    Sure I'm on Rogers too... and you're correct, I don't go over 500 MB. That's not because I can't or wouldn't, but because I know I'll get taken in the ass for extra charges if I do. I don't bother watching youtube on my phone, or movies, or tv or browsing much of the web that is media rich, but not because I wouldn't enjoy doing so. It really makes me wonder why I have a smartphone that allows for all those features if in using them in a normal manner (like I would on my PC for instance) would end up costing me extra. Even with the small amount of web browsing, app store checking and google maps stuff I use occasionally, I end up with 100-200 MB used per month.

    So yeah, you could say the 500 MB is enough for me. /sarcasm

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:47PM (#32538480)

    Rogers 500 Minute Plan, w/ 500Mb data (no tethering), 3 year lockin, no voicemail = $70 CAD
    o2 600 Minute Plan (not paying for inbound), w/ 500Mb data (with tethering), 1 year lockin, unlimited wifi hotspot usage, voicemail, unlimited text = UKP20 = $30 CAD

    You were saying?

  • by Dogbertius (1333565) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:58PM (#32538678)
    Hence why I just get a hard copy of the contract and actually read it. There's no gray font BS, etc. Although IANAL, tiny gray text that isn't legible on a hard copy of your contract is obviously going to make it hard to enforce the contract. The technical nitty-gritty is minimal, so even a non-techie should be able to read both pages of it, and know what the scoop is.

    I recall some issue with Telus in Canada trying to terminate 3-year "unlimited" contracts for iPhones (I think it was some sort of "blogger plan", if I recall). I don't know what became of that though.

    More recently, they've implemented a 5GB cap on iPads without informing the public.
    http://nexus404.com/Blog/2010/06/01/telus-stealthy-adds-ipad-data-limit-canadian-ipad-data-plan-isnt-unlimited-as-telus-adds-5gb-limit/ [nexus404.com]
    A 5GB cap seems pretty fair, but Telus doesn't offer the option to just pay another $30/month if you go over your limit, no way: they'll ding you a fortune per 10MB you go over your limit. So using 10GB, instead of being 2x$30/month=$60/month, ends up being roughly $500. Fun times are had by all.
  • Define ISP (Score:3, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Friday June 11, 2010 @02:21PM (#32539052) Homepage Journal

    we are indeed talking about wireless providers, not isps

    Since when does "isp" imply "wired"? If a company provides Internet access, it is an ISP.

    there are no handed out monopolies in this business.

    Radio frequency spectrum is monopolized: only the FCC provides it.

    second, tell me why the market is not free in sectors that does not have handed out licenses ? like, sports shoes ?

    When did Payless stop selling sneakers?

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday June 11, 2010 @03:19PM (#32540136) Journal

    This was marked (0, Troll). Seriously? I'm re-reading my response and I don't see anything trolling about it. All I see is an individual expressing his opinion that the internet is no different from electricity usage, or natural gas usage, or gasoline usage - i.e. it makes sense for it to be metered. I'm sorry you don't like me opinion, but I'm not changing it just because you MISUSED your mod power to censor me into invisibility.

    It's unlimited TIME, not unlimited data. It says that in the contract, if you bother to read it before signing. And no I don't think the speaker exaggerated. Just over 66 GB per month is not that high. I probably reach that point myself, what with TV watching and movie downloading.

    What these companies should do, IMHO, is provide 1 GB per month and then if you want additional throughput, charge about 10 cents per extra gigabyte. If people want the data, they can pay for the extra burden on the network (extra electricity, et cetera).

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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