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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 jollyreaper (513215) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:00PM (#32537558)

    I'm sorry, I'm just too used to corporations lying and making shit up. Have a third party with no conflict of interest audit their numbers and then we can talk. Until then I'll just assume this is another "fuck the customer" move by a major corporation.

    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:03PM (#32537628) Journal

      Who cares if you trust their numbers? They don't need to justify the breakdown to you or me or anyone. They only need to explain their pricing structure, then you and I can decide if we want the service.

      • by Threni (635302) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:10PM (#32537750)

        They can start by not calling 3gb, 1gb, 500mb (or even less in some cases) `unlimited`. It's not unlimited if there's a limit. And they should also stop calling them `fair use policies` - they should call them `download limitation policies` or something, given that charging you for an unlimited policy, then charging you again if you download too much can hardly be described as fair.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          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 (

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bsDaemon (87307)

            Time is pretty much the only thing in life which has no possibility of being unlimited.

          • by RobVB (1566105)

            You do know they're talking about PHONES, don't you? 66 GB on a wired broadband internet connection isn't that high indeed. I can't imagine anyone downloading 65 GB of data on a phone, though. Unless they're connecting their PC to the internet through their phone.

          • by sxeraverx (962068) on Friday June 11, 2010 @02:06PM (#32538808)

            Except what it ends up being is not 10 cents per gigabyte, but 10, or even 100 dollars.

            People are (or at least I am) fed up with the exorbitant prices for what should by now be basic services ($99 a month for unlimited voice? it doesn't cost you nearly that much to carry it; not to mention the cost of text messages), arbitrary limitations (no tethering allowed? but i can visit the exact same webpage on my phone, and it'll cost you more bandwidth because I don't have the ability to block ads; only 2Gb/mo? why?) and arbitrary extra fees ($20/mo to enable tethering? "Carrier Cost Recovery Fee"? WTF? So, you're charging us for your costs, and then your charging for your costs again, on top of that?).

            Ugh.

            • $20/mo to enable tethering?

              People who tether transfer more data per month than people who do not.

              "Carrier Cost Recovery Fee"? WTF? So, you're charging us for your costs, and then your charging for your costs again, on top of that?

              This is usually for unfunded mandates such as 9-1-1 emergency service, local number portability, and universal service (subsidized service for remote areas). Would you rather that the phone company not itemize these and hide what the charges are for?

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by tenton (181778)

                $20/mo to enable tethering?

                People who tether transfer more data per month than people who do not.

                AT&T is charging $20 for tethering and implementing bandwidth caps. So if you gulp down your bandwidth limit with your phone, it costs X. If you gulp down the same bandwidth with your computer, it's X+$20. There's a cap in place, so it takes the "uses more bandwidth" argument out of play (since the tethering plan doesn't increase your cap). There's no reason for it, it's the same bandwidth.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          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?

      • yea you decide. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by unity100 (970058) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:12PM (#32537784) Homepage Journal
        ironically, all the major monopolies which control the market are going that way, so your decision means squat. there is no 'competition'. the empty premise of the 'free' market.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          The market is not free because the government won't allow it to be free. The government hands-out exclusive monopolies to ISPs. That needs to stop.

          • by jank1887 (815982)

            psssstt.... we're talking about wireless phone providers, not ISPs.

            • by jonbryce (703250)

              Psst, wireless phone providers have exclusive monopolies (well four company cartel), ISPs don't.

              • by longacre (1090157)
                That's not the government's fault, it's that the barriers to entry are extremely high. Building a new network today to compete with the Verizons and AT&T's of the world would cost hundreds of billions of dollars.
                • Spectrum is scarce (Score:2, Insightful)

                  by tepples (727027)

                  That's not the government's fault, it's that the barriers to entry are extremely high.

                  You're right that the entry barriers aren't the government's fault. They're the fault of physics itself: spectrum is scarce.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by longacre (1090157)
                    That is a different issue, and it could be argued that it is an artificial one. Even if there were unlimited spectrum, it still costs a ton of money to wire the continent for service.
                  • by steelfood (895457) on Friday June 11, 2010 @05:44PM (#32542732)

                    Maybe the FCC should handle the towers then (contract out the construction and maintenance, etc. to various subcontractors as needed), and charge for the usage of those towers. Or, the FCC should regulate the telecos in the same manner that other utility companies are regulated.

                    I mean, I'm paying all this tax money, I want to see it put to good use, not just to build bridges to nowhere.

                    As for all the anti-big government people, I'm not a fan of large governments either. But as there's a scarcity on this resource, the government is going to regulate anyway, so why not regulate properly.

          • by unity100 (970058)
            first, as the other poster replied, we are indeed talking about wireless providers, not isps. there are no handed out monopolies in this business. first, learn what you are talking about, then blabber 'free' market nonsense.

            second, tell me why the market is not free in sectors that does not have handed out licenses ? like, sports shoes ? since two decades the shoes are being produced for dimes in china, but STILL being sold from exorbitant prices in usa. yet, NO company is dropping prices and creating a
            • Define ISP (Score:3, Informative)

              by tepples (727027)

              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?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by xaxa (988988)

            This is the UK we're discussing (or at least, it's mentioned in the article, who knows what we're discussing...). The government has made at least some effort to introduce competition in both the ISP, landline and mobile phone markets. In all cases the companies that own the infrastructure are required to lease space/capacity/whatever to competitors, including competitors that don't have any infrastructure themselves.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_virtual_network_operator [wikipedia.org] for example.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)

        Because some Slashdot geek types want everything for free. They get mad at companies who advertise unlimited service, but who then yell at heavy users. They say "They should just state what the cap is!". They then get mad at companies who have caps on their service, claiming that the caps are unfair.

        More or less they want to be able to use tons of bandwidth, and not have to pay for it. When people have complained about the "unreasonably low" cap of 250GB on cable modems I've suggested business class cable.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by SUB7IME (604466)

          Well, yeah, my tax dollars subsidized their infrastructure, so I would like to regulate their pricing.

        • by nolife (233813) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:25PM (#32538034) Homepage Journal

          When the real caps are listed, you are still free to complain but at least you can comparison shop. If company A has an unlimited plan for 5GB/month, and company B has an unlimited plan with 10GB/month and both are CLEARLY stated and made well known while you are browsing the offerings; You the consumer can compare service and price and take the best one. With "unlimited" being undefined, hidden, tucked away in some web portal under account options--> service -> data -> limits -> your limit -> "amount used" or the last page of your agreement in a size 3 gray font, you can not compare service. These companies go out of their way to call the service unlimited and also go equally out of there way to hide the fact that is it not unlimited.

          It is NOT everyone wanting something for nothing, it is about having all of the factors in front of you to choose the lesser of the evils.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Dogbertius (1333565)
            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 "blogge
          • If company A has an unlimited plan for 5GB/month, and company B has an unlimited plan with 10GB/month and both are CLEARLY stated and made well known while you are browsing the offerings; You the consumer can compare service and price and take the best one.

            In the real world, if company A raises the price of text messaging, companies B, C, and D will do the same. Or if company A cuts its pseudo-unlimited plan from 5 GB to 3 GB, companies B, C, and D will do the same.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MoonBuggy (611105)

          Although some people definitely do have unreasonable demands, I think you're giving too much credit to the companies. I know they have the right to do whatever they like, but if I think they're being price-gouging asshats then I'm still going to complain about their service.

          If you're advertising unlimited, give me unlimited or stop fucking lying in your adverts. Note that I'm well aware that a true unlimited service would be prohibitively expensive, and that overselling is what makes pricing reasonable (Dre

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Binestar (28861)

            Here is what I consider the only fair ways to handle tiered pricing:

            #1: You hit your cap and no more service for the month
            *OR*
            #2: Lets say there are 5 tiers of caps: $5 for 100MB, $10 for 500MB, $25 for 2GB, $50 for 5GB and $100 for 15GB. If I use 17GB I would expect to pay $100 for 15GB and an additional $25 for 2GB for a total bill of $125. One month I go on vacation and don't use it much at all, I pay $5 for the 100MB. Another month I stream movies constantly, I pay $350 for 50GB of traffic.

            IMO: T

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          Well quite. If they want to limit the service, they shouldn't call it an unlimited service.

        • by eth1 (94901) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:48PM (#32538504)

          Actually, IMO, most of the caps ARE carefully calculated to be unfair. Look at the plans for data and txt usage. They almost ALWAYS break down to these options:
          1. cheap plan with a limit lower than what 95% of people need, with insane overage charges
          2. expensive plan with a limit way higher than what 95% of people need, with insane overage charges
          3. "unlimited" plan for a few $ more than #2

          Basically #1 doesn't work for anyone, so they're forced to spend way more than they need on #2, because there are no other options. (and most probably just go with #3, because it's only a few $ more, and they don't have to worry about the insane scary per txt/MB charges)

        • Because some Slashdot geek types want everything for free. They get mad at companies who advertise unlimited service, but who then yell at heavy users. They say "They should just state what the cap is!".

          What's so unreasonable about that? If you advertise a service as "unlimited" when there is, in fact, a limit - that seems a little deceptive.

          They then get mad at companies who have caps on their service, claiming that the caps are unfair.

          So there's no such thing as an unfair cap?

          More or less they want to be able to use tons of bandwidth, and not have to pay for it.

          I don't have a problem paying for my bandwidth. I have a problem paying unreasonable amounts for my bandwidth and receiving horrible support and service, simply because my ISP has a local monopoly and doesn't feel like upgrading anything.

          When people have complained about the "unreasonably low" cap of 250GB on cable modems I've suggested business class cable. That's why I do. No restrictions, I get static IPs, etc. Costs more, but it is worth it and I have as much bandwidth as I like. No, too expensive they say.

          Right now I have a 5 Mbps / 512 Kbps connection for roughly $70/month. That's a resident

          • by tepples (727027)

            And I put up with all of this because the alternative is to switch to dial-up (even crappier speed) or satellite (higher price, less bandwidth).

            So if plan A is stick with what you have, B is dial-up, and C is satellite, you appear to have forgotten plan D: move.

        • by IICV (652597) on Friday June 11, 2010 @02:31PM (#32539260)

          What if I want to use tons of bandwidth and pay for it? I want to stream MythTV to my smartphone; I want to keep my phone continually synchronized with my fileserver at home (including any pictures or videos I take), even if I'm in another state; I want to be able to listen to any of the hundreds of gigabytes of music available to me, be they on YouTube, the Internet, or my fileserver at home no matter where I am; I want to connect a Bluetooth webcam to my phone and stream everything that happens to me to a remote server.

          I'm willing to pay for that; why aren't they willing to offer the bandwidth to do it? It'll be expensive, but there's bound to be some people for whom price doesn't matter, and it's not like a real unlimited plan is going to take up extra space on their shelves. Why not offer a real unlimited plan, at its actual price?

      • by Znork (31774)

        If they advertise their service honestly, I'm perfectly fine with that.

        Honest, in a 1GB/month capped service, means something like '3kb/s sustained speed service with burst capability' (disregarding possible calculation mistakes on my side).

        But if they advertise a certain bandwidth for a certain price, then that's it, you should be able to use it fully and not be constrained by artificial intentional limitations that make it impossible to use the advertised bandwidth or change the price if you do.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        You live in a really simple world. Tell me, did they let you sit at the front of the short bus, or in back with the exhaust fumes?

        When a corporation makes major changes, they have to tell my why it's reasonably in order to keep customers.n You also run into problems if you are changing how existing users will use the service. Plus about 2 dozen other factors.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        Who cares if you trust their numbers?

        It's worth knowing whether or not your provider is simply lying in order to jack up prices.

        They only need to explain their pricing structure, then you and I can decide if we want the service.

        But if you can't believe their numbers, how can you believe their pricing structure? It's one of those games where the only way to win is to not play.

        It's not accidental that two large providers would follow suit in this manner. I'm sure they would say it's just coincidental, and

    • 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 :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dgatwood (11270)

        What they're not telling you is that the people pulling such huge traffic rates are doing so because they're using the phone instead of a computer, and they have no Wi-Fi access. 200 megabytes is *nothing* if you're using cellular data exclusively. That's about an hour and a half of YouTube-quality video. Want to watch a TV show or two while you're on vacation? You can rack up gigabytes of usage pretty quickly.

        The thing is, if you use your phone as a media viewing platform, you're going to run up large

      • If I could get 5.2Mbps off my 3G I'd seriously consider dropping Crapcast much like how they randomly drop my modem off their network when I have connections to something on anything other than port 80. 3G at least here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area is usually sub 1Mbps regardless of what may or may not be advertised.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jeffmeden (135043)

      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 tethe

      • Thats about 1 iTunes episode of lost, per day.

        Suddenly it's not so much, is it?

        This is all about getting the consumers in position to be dinged even more when there usage naturally climbs as the adapt to new ways to use their devices,. It is not a coincidence this is happening just as device designed to stream content from 3G/4G networks. Such as the iPad.

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        Currently O2 have an unlimited data plan which costs £5 per month, no tethering allowed. A tethering plan costs £10 per month for 1 GB of data or £15 per month for 3 GB of data. That is the same cost as geting a separate HSDPA modem contract.

      • Two years ago, when I took out my contract with O2 and got my nice shiny new XDA Stellar (aka HTC Kaiser), I specifically asked whether I could tether it, since I was travelling a lot on business and it might have been handy now and then. The rep's answer was, "Yes, but I recommend you don't. It'll cost you 10 quid a meg. And they *will* know." (For comparison: Last time I was abroad, I think I paid 3 GBP per MB of data.) So at 65GB a month for one user, they should be coining it in.
    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:21PM (#32537954) Journal

      I just don't get it.

      What percentage of their customers are paying for an unlimitted plan. And they say the average user only uses 200MB? So you've effectively managed to overcharge MORE of your users!

      Lets see, 65G a month is 1/3rd of the traffic. So 2/3rds (or 130g) are used by all your other customers, averaging to around 200MB (or 0.2G) a month. So, 26 Million users means 26 thousand are using the unlimitted plan to its potential (65G) and the other 25974000 users are... What? Lets say a conservative 1% are paying for an unlimitted plan but not using it. Thats 259740 users you are overcharging.

      By Golly, why'd you have to go and change the plan (thus voiding any contracts) when you are sitting on a gold mine.

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        I have an unlimited plan and use about 65MB per month - Exchange Activsync plus very occassional web browsing. The only other option is to pay by the kB, and that would cost me a lot more.

    • by mapkinase (958129)

      At this type of distribution (which is similar to distribution of income) the best is not average, but median or generalized parameter similar to median (value at which given percentage of people have it less).

    • by alta (1263)

      Can someone do the math and figure out if 65GB/month is even possible on, say a 1MB connection?

      It's friday and I'm too tired to think about it.

      • 1MBps? or 1Mbps?

        1 * 60 * 60 (3600 MB/h) * 24 * 30 = 2592000 MB /month or 2592 GB per month.

        1Mb still means about 324GB per month.

        So yes, its entirely possible. It means you spend about 1/5th of your day every day downloading.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      not just that. They pay for bulk usage. What do they care how much people use in specific?

      They purchase, say a 500ZB/month data transfer. The amount they are paying for is exponentially more than people use in case of usage spikes. So what do they care that overall usage goes up? It's always going to go up.

  • by ttlgDaveh (798546) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:00PM (#32537576) Homepage
    While I'm not a fan of taking away things, in my mind having a fixed limit is better than having an 'Unlimited' plan, but having an unknown 'fair usage policy', for which there is no official policy.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:00PM (#32537590)

    5gb is reasonable.

    At 500mb, there is no point in risking using the service.

    • 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.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Threni (635302)

      For a fair price, 500mb can be fine - especially if you have access to genuinely unlimited, or cheaper, broadband at home via wifi. But even then I believe that companies should make it very clear to you, via SMS/Email/phone calls etc if you're approaching, or exceeding, your limits, especially if you have to pay for it.

      For example, Virgin Mobile in the UK charge £2 per meg over their `unlimited` 1gb plan, which is laughable.

      • by Geeky (90998)

        For a fair price, 500mb can be fine - especially if you have access to genuinely unlimited, or cheaper, broadband at home via wifi. But even then I believe that companies should make it very clear to you, via SMS/Email/phone calls etc if you're approaching, or exceeding, your limits, especially if you have to pay for it.

        For example, Virgin Mobile in the UK charge £2 per meg over their `unlimited` 1gb plan, which is laughable.

        And O2 give you access to BT Cloud wi-fi as part of their deal, which includes hotspots at the likes of McDonalds, Starbucks and Wetherspoon pubs. I presume that won't be metered, so even out and about you have plenty of options in addition to 3G (albeit with major security concerns - I wouldn't use public wifi for anything other than casual browsing...)

        The trouble with O2 is just how slow their 3G is... I'm amazed anyone get actually get near these limits.

    • 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?

    • I use my iPhone a lot, and don't think I ever break the 500MB mark.

      If people are only using their phones, and they're not running bit torrent it should be fine. I will say that streaming video such as Netflix will alter the numbers quite a bit. Actually that is why I will keep my unlimited AT&T connection instead of saving $5/mo. The 2GB AT&T offers is probably going to be enough, 200MB or 500MB is a bit low, but it also depends on what they charge for overage. It must be reasonable and not puni

  • If users can get 65 GB in a month. But the überusage seems to be the hidden marketing cost of advertising an unlimited plan.

    • think the numbers the OP came up with are absurd. When they say the average customer uses 200MB, I think they probably meant the average customer uses less than 200MB. They certainly did not say was that the average amount of data consumed was 200MB. Maybe 200MB is the median, and the 99th percentile is 500MB, etc.

  • It's more profitable to nickel-and-dime people than to be the only provider who actually provides good service. That, and nobody wants to be the only provider actually provides said service, given the avalanche of people that go to the last unlimited-data provider.

  • and i get it ?

    why the fsck a cap ? cant i use 5 gb traffic as long as i pay for it ? isnt this the SOLE logic of the trade system that underlies the world's economy ? you want it, you pay for it, you get it ... WHY cap it ?
    • by Gerafix (1028986)
      Because it's more profitable to put a cap on it and charge you an arm and a leg (literally) if you go over the cap. Depends if it's a hard or soft cap, didn't RTFA naturally.
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      but you can get 5Gb if you pay for it, 500mb is just the cap for the amount you pay upfront.

      Overage charges for O2 are 2.4p on retail, and 2p on business tariffs. So you pay your basic £25pcm for 500mb, then an extra £108 for the excess up to 5Gb. Maybe you'll be able to get a discount if you contact them before using all that.

  • by wonkavader (605434) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:14PM (#32537818)

    " 0.1% of the network's users were consuming almost a third of the traffic" ... "the average heavy data user consumes a staggering 66,666MB (so around 65GB) per month."

    If this were truly the case, they could cap things at 5G at no extra cost and get back 90% of that 1/3, while only effecting a little more than .1% of their customers. Instead, they are setting the cap lower such that they get back maybe another 5% of that 1/3 (that's a gain of less than 2%) and screwing people only one or two SD from the mean. That's going to be a lot of people.

    Every situation a telco sees is a new opportunity to try to screw their customers or a government out of more money. Every situation, without exception.

    One might argue that every business should try to make as much money as possible. But businesses who screw their customers get dumped in favor of other, more customer friendly businesses fast, and therefor most successful companies try to take care of their customers.

    This dynamic is completely absent in the big telcos. It's an entire industry of terrible companies run by lying bastards.

    (Small telcos try harder, and attempt to take care of their customers, but small telcos don't have cell networks or access to most people's last mile.)

    • How do you know that the 5G level is 90%? I doubt the graph fits any standard distribution curve - the center may be close to one, but this is is an outlying point. I suspect they've got several bumps in the mix.

      AT&T is pulling the same thing. I'm certain that they've decide some people are getting "too much" for their dollar (pound), and they're always getting grief over the extra fee for data. I'm sure they've looked at usage patters and chosen a new structure which will keep their income the same,

  • by Ash Vince (602485) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:14PM (#32537828) Journal

    I used to be an O2 customer until about 8 months ago when they silently changed my (sim only) contract that I paid an extra £7.50 per month to get unlimited data. This was on top of the £15 pound I paid for calls and text messages. They silently amended the "fair use" policy from 4Gb per month to 500Mb. They did not reduce the £7.50. I immediately jumped to a different company and told them why after having been a customer for about 5 years or so.

    There network in the UK has been hopelessly overloaded since they got the exclusive deal on the iPhone. In central London you would be unable to get a line quite regularly. They are desperately trying to keep their network alive without spending any money since they know most people will now be leaving them since the iPhone is available from other networks.

  • by bobcat7677 (561727) on Friday June 11, 2010 @01:15PM (#32537842) Homepage
    So that would mean an AVERAGE of roughly 200Kb/sec non-stop all month long? Given this is a 3G connection we are talking about, that's either not possible or means they are pretty much saturating their connections all the time. Does it seem likely that there are 26,000 users who bought phones solely to dedicate to tethering and bittorrent (I can't think of any other application that would produce those results). Or maybe 26,000 people with malware infected phones sending spam all day long? Or maybe the carrier's stats are just shit? Or maybe "3G" means something different in the UK (where I'm at it means an average of 100-200Kb/sec depending on where you happen to be standing at the time). Feel free to correct any of my assumptions or my math if necessary:)
  • Honestly, the future is not restricting and limiting what customers can do and what kind of new applications can be invented.

    The future is improving the technology and INCREASING bandwidth and making possible all kinds of new applications that people haven't even dreamed of yet.

    These carriers will either get on board and build out their networks, or they will be eclipsed by those who do.

    Honestly I don't get why they can't leave things completely unlimited and simply manage the bandwidth sharing in some fair

    • Honestly, the future is not restricting and limiting what customers can do and what kind of new applications can be invented. The future is improving the technology and INCREASING bandwidth and making possible all kinds of new applications that people haven't even dreamed of yet.

      Maybe Britain is different, but here in the U.S., our corporations do not let ethics, morals, or even the law stand in the way of their greed...let alone something that cannot be quantified in terms of either the bottom line or CEO compensation - such as the future.

      • No morals or ethics required. This is one case where pure capitalism will win out in the end. People hate paying huge amounts for things with restrictions they don't like, and at least here in the US there's enough competition to ensure that eventually this is going to work itself out I think.

        G.

        • I base my projection upon the fact that U.S. corporations do not plan for "worst-case scenarios", as said planning costs money and would negatively impact shareholder value/executive compensation.

          For instance, BP being totally unprepared for a requirement for working blowout preventers...or in the case of a telco, one of their worst-case scenarios is bandwidth saturation.

          Rather than plan and build for it - plan and build for the future, that is - they instead turn to restricting their customers to the past.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      These carriers will either get on board and build out their networks, or they will be eclipsed by those who do.

      I don't know how it works anywhere else, but in the USA, there's a high cost to infrastructure, and there's a high cost to actually licensing spectrum, and then you have to get your bytes across the land somehow which in many areas means a single provider or nothing.

  • Given that power laws are so incredibly prevalent in distributions for natural phenomena (see Benford's law [wikipedia.org] and Linked: The New Science of Networks [amazon.com]) this does not surprise me in the least. In fact, it would surprise me if it weren't the case.

    The question remains, is charging on a per-byte basis the right way to handle this? I think this is a natural phenomena that will arise in any network, and that by reducing the bandwidth usage of these small number of people you stand a chance of reducing everybody's

  • Dear non-US mobile providers,

    Please do not look to US mobile providers for ideas. You will only encourage them. Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    A US citizen who wants his options to get better.
  • I've got 200Kb/sec here in [European country on DSL].

    At that rate I can upload/download about 2-3GB per day.

    Which makes 60-90GB/mo, at the most (under ideal conditions). On DSL. Not fast DSL, not cable, but not O2.

    Ergo...

  • Maybe these 26.000 moved and while waiting for their DSL-Connection, used an "O2 surfstick" as advertised by the german part of the company here [o2online.de]

    A half-gig-capped connection doesn't seem to be such a good replacement for broadband, especially when you just moved to a new city and fill your caches with local pages and you visit ebay and ikea a lot.

  • I prefer this model of billing. A set clear limit is better for the company as they can have more accurate costs for bandwidth usage and for the consumer they know exactly what they're getting and can deal with situations where they need more then they have.

  • 65GB per month! These scandals are using just over 25 kilobytes a second for an entire month! What could these criminals possibly be doing!!! We must stop this immediately! What do you think this is a 56k modem?????? This is preposterous!!
  • The PcPro number are stupid and dumb. They assume that all 26 million customers are on 3G data plans which is fucking nonsense.

    The Guardian has more realistic numbers, which judging by the nerd rage in comments above, might make Slashdot explode.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jun/11/mobile-data-unlimited-end [guardian.co.uk]

    Consider: This is the UK mobile network, so NO tax dollars spent on infrastructure.

  • Want to make a ton of money for your cellular provider? There's an app for that!

    Next time you see that Sprint CEO say something like "not very people use their cellphones to only talk" in their TV commercials, folks may want to tell him that more and more people -- especially AT&T customers -- are doing just that. Since most corporations have never seen a bandwagon they could resist jumping onto, I predict Sprint customers will be joining them.

    And people wonder why I chose a pay-as-you-go cellphon

  • spin it back (Score:2, Insightful)

    O2's CEO claimed 0.1% of the network's users were consuming almost a third of the traffic

    Or, to put it another way, 99.9% of O2's users are staying well within reasonable usage of the network.

    Fun little spin he's putting on it there.

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