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O2 Scraps Unlimited Data Usage For Smartphones

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the falling-in-line dept.

Cellphones 272

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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Why do I not trust their numbers? (4, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (4, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537628)

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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (5, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Why do I not trust their numbers? (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537924)

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).

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (2, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538072)

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

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538210)

10 cents per GIGABYTE?

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

hamvil (1186283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538234)

Actually with wireless networks, and especially with cellular network,when it comes to power consumption it does not really matter if your are transmitting at full rate or if your are idle. This is because power management is really not that sophisticated, and the reason it is not that sophisticated is that you do not want to lose traffic by powering (and powering down a radio is the only way to save energy there is nothing else you can do from a protocol stack standpoint) down BTS.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

yea you decide. (5, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537784)

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:yea you decide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538004)

The empty premise of your free market is you're entitled to have these things on your terms. You want them or you don't at the deal they're giving you. If you take a deal that is bad for you then you deserve it. But society in general just looks at what everybody else has and decides now that a lot of people have it, everybody should have it, and if you don't like how you have to get it, the providers need to change.

Basically, because the population is too weak to stick to their guns on this very important issue, or its not a very important issue, you think capitalism is the problem. Don't worry that the business is offering something you are willing to pay for. But no, you are entitled to that unlimited bandwidth, and you want it on your terms.

Re:yea you decide. (1, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538534)

no, its capitalism. capitalism requires a state of total anarchy to be viable, like in early days of usa, or, early days of indian colonization by british, or, in the early days of wild west.

only then there can be enough opportunities and lack of control of market by incumbent competitors that competition, price wars, choice can happen.

when frontiers are not found, then incumbents, with their greater power, consolidate the market and create a hierarchy. just like how 3-4 companies dominate every field of life in usa now. its inevitable, its the result of societal dynamics, it wont change by itself.

Re:yea you decide. (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538026)

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.

Re:yea you decide. (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538342)

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

Re:yea you decide. (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538450)

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

Re:yea you decide. (1)

longacre (1090157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538608)

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.

Re:yea you decide. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538492)

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 price war.

wake up to this fact : IT IS AGAINST THE INTERESTS OF COMPANIES TO COMPETE. they profit much more by leveling prices without a talking agreement in between them, by watching each other's prices, and moves. the customer is out of the equation.

Re:yea you decide. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538486)

A few things.

There are anti-competition laws that can be used if you can find that the companies are colluding. Anti-competition laws are not laissez-faire.

When allowable radio frequencies are controlled by the government there is not a free market in this area. That's tough shit I guess. There is no libertarian utopia.

It's possible the data co. oversold their bandwidth. Too much data for too few $. In other words, their prices weren't set correctly from the beginning, they realize they fucked up, and changed it. The contracts with buyers are broken if the data co. doesn't hold up their end of the contract. All very unfortunate. Restart with new prices.

Maybe after revising their prices they will sell unmetered data for a higher price.

I have friends who pay 500$/mo per 10mbps of unmetered bandwidth (they're a small ISP). I pay a bit extra for unmetered business cable at work over basic cable. Business tech support has been phenomenal in my experience. The land data people have been around longer and have figured it out.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537832)

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. 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.

They just want to complain.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (2, Interesting)

SUB7IME (604466) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537902)

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

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (3, Insightful)

Tuzanor (125152) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537974)

If carriers can't charge more to people who use more, how are they supposed to get the revenue to expand the network? If a regulator caps prices, you get shortages like anything else.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538412)

Use the "Bonuses" and "Golden Parachute" monies to build out their infrastructure. More infrastructure means more economic opportunities for everyone, including more "I barely use my connection anyway" costumers for the telcos.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (5, Insightful)

nolife (233813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538034)

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:Why do I not trust their numbers? (3, Informative)

Dogbertius (1333565) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (2, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538434)

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 (Dreamhost's blog entry [dreamhost.com] is pretty good on the subject), so I'm fine with caps.

A 250GB monthly cap for a home internet connection sounds perfectly reasonable. A 1GB cap for a low priced mobile service sounds fine. 10-15GB or so for a higher tier mobile package is sensible, I'd say. All of these should have low priced per-GB fees above the cap.

For now it seems that people won't/can't vote with their wallets on the issue, so I can't blame the companies for screwing us over in search of more profit (that's what companies are built to do). What I can do, however, is post rants like this in the hope of encouraging more people to switch to a better ISP if there's one available, even at a slightly higher cost.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538474)

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

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (5, Insightful)

eth1 (94901) | more than 4 years ago | (#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)

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537872)

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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538042)

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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538356)

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.

One could assume that on 'the short bus', the front and the back would be close enough that there would be no escape from the fumes.

Also, the rest of your post is a train wreck. I appreciate the irony though.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (3, Informative)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537702)

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:Why do I not trust their numbers? (2, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538528)

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 amounts of bandwidth. For people who are used to doing that, it only takes a one week vacation somewhere without Wi-Fi to put you into that top 0.1%. Or when your Wi-Fi connection goes down and you don't notice that it's pulling data over 3G. And that's what makes this so insidious. You don't need to break the rules and tether, use BitTorrent, or violate the terms of service in any way to run afoul of a bandwidth limit. There's plenty of perfectly legitimate reasons to consume that much bandwidth, and it isn't very hard to do in a month if you aren't paying attention.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (2, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537724)

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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (2, Interesting)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537940)

This is basically the solution Verizon Wireless here in the US has come to

Hrm. I have a subsidized HP Mini 1000 with a Verizon Wireless 3G card built in. For 5GB/mo I pay $59/mo + tax.

I also have a Palm Pre Plus for my cell phone with Verizon Wireless on a family plan (pre + pixi). When I received the bill for the last billing period, I was very pleasantly surprised to see a big notice that read something like this:

"Dear Valued Customer, because you have been such an excellent customer for the last 6 years, we've decided to add 5GB/mo to each of your Palm phones; on the house. Enjoy!"

Since then, I've been trying to figure out how to channel bond the 3g in the netbook with the WiFi Hotspot in the Pre ;)

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538162)

Is this meant to be a troll (your karma speaks poorly of you)? Verizon data plans for handsets specifically include unlimited data usage. What would they be adding 5GB/mo to exactly? Did the phone(s) have pay-per-mb data on them previously?

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (2, Interesting)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538512)

Is this meant to be a troll (your karma speaks poorly of you)? Verizon data plans for handsets specifically include unlimited data usage. What would they be adding 5GB/mo to exactly? Did the phone(s) have pay-per-mb data on them previously?

No, sorry, not meant as a troll at all, adding to your praise of Verizon (if I read you correctly :)

You are correct that the Palm smartphones have the unlimited data plans included. However, the WiFi Hotspot previously added charges above and beyond the included unlimited plan. When you connected a device to the hotspot it gave you a warning, and prompted the user to purchase the Hotspot plan. What Verizon did for me was give me 5GB/mo with the WiFi Hotspot app for free!

If this was informative; help a fellow /.'er down on his karma, and mod me up please! :)

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537960)

you can't prove they were tethering, so you can't build rules on top of an assumption that you can.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538118)

You would be surprised what the carrier knows about your phone. Try to rack up 65GB a month and see if they still don't know you're tethering. I dare ya.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538312)

there is a difference between "knowing" something and being capable of "proving" it. in the end it's all just network traffic originating from the phone.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538398)

'In the end' there is enough fine print in ANY cell phone contract giving the carrier permission to do pretty much whatever they want to you, including terminate your contract and assess "overages" related to the infringing bandwidth use. Go ahead, look. I will wait.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538556)

aye, and there's a difference between 'knowing', 'proving' and 'oh sod it, just put a cap on everyone'

As usual, its a minority who spoil it for the rest of us.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538692)

Easy. YouTube high definition videos can be up to a gigabyte in size, and that's for 10 minutes of video. Are you telling me you don't think someone can possibly watch eleven hours of high definition YouTube content in a month?

65 gigabytes is rapidly becoming light use for young people with YouTube addictions. The telcos simply need to increase the size of their backhauls, period. Any attempts at capping are just going to result in lawsuits and massive numbers of very pissed off customers.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538102)

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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538592)

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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537954)

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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538638)

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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538066)

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).

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

alta (1263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538182)

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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538374)

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.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

psycho12345 (1134609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538464)

Oh its easy, on my pathetic 1.5 Mb connection at home, I can do 150GB a month or more.

Re:Why do I not trust their numbers? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538458)

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.

Lower prices for low bandwidth users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537572)

So prices will be lowered for those that barely use an "unlimited" connection? Oh wait...

Better than just saying 'unlimited' (3, Insightful)

ttlgDaveh (798546) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537576)

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.

500mb or 1gb is way too low (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537590)

5gb is reasonable.

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

Re:500mb or 1gb is way too low (1)

egork (449605) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537640)

In Germany o2 offers the 3g package with 5 GB for 15 Euro. So 500mb seems to be more of a default data plan for smartphones.

Re:500mb or 1gb is way too low (5, Informative)

nebular (76369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537698)

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:500mb or 1gb is way too low (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538252)

I work for Rogers and Fido dealership here in Canada ...I'm sure the cost for O2's data plans are WAY higher than they need to be.

Mwahahahaha. You are working for a company whose public nickname is 'Robbers'*, and whose data pricing is even worse than the US, who only decided to allow smartphone tethering in March 2010! and whose residential internet caps were slashed from 200Gb to 80Gb for even high-tier accounts with a couple of weeks notice. And you think people in the UK will get ripped off?

*a sample Robbers plan:: $70/mo (56 Euros), you get 500 minutes calltime (you're charged for incoming calls too), and 500Mb data (tethering not allowed).

Re:500mb or 1gb is way too low (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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

Re:500mb or 1gb is way too low (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:500mb or 1gb is way too low (2, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537790)

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.

Re:500mb or 1gb is way too low (1)

Geeky (90998) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538142)

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.

Re:500mb or 1gb is way too low (4, Informative)

TomXP411 (860000) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

o2 seems to have a great 3G network :-) (2, Interesting)

egork (449605) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537598)

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

Profitability Service? (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537642)

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.

GOOD Now I don't have to pay for your porn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537658)

I hate paying for your fucking goddamn porn. Now you have to. Luzerz!

D'ja ever notice? (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537710)

Anytime there's a sign that says, "Free! Take one!" - that there's nothing there???

Anytime something is sold as 'unlimited', which is great with ordinary use, there's gonna be someone who ruins it for everybody by going for the infinite amount.

Re:D'ja ever notice? (2, Insightful)

Montezumaa (1674080) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538080)

So, your position is that customers are "[ruining] it for everybody" because said customers are actually using what they are paying for? Do you realize how utterly stupid your position is? If someone purchases a home and uses every room, instead of only a percentage of room that the realtor believes is reasonable, then that customer is trying to "[ruin] it for everybody"?

The fact of the matter is that these companies advertised their product as "unlimited", then committed a violation of the law by falsely advertising to customer what "unlimited" means. The fact of the matter is that these companies are bringing in record profits, but refuse to spend some of those profits to build a network to support the product they are selling. These corporations believe they can do whatever they wish and then impose restrictions, after a contract is signed, because they believe that most customers do not have the financial means to fight for their rights.

I say fuck these corporations and fuck the pieces of shit that play us(the customers). I will use the service I pay for, to the fullest extent possible. If they(the corporations) do not like it, then I will see them in court.

Save the GB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537742)

GB's are a renewable resource- download away, we will make more!

a better conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537756)

"That means the average heavy data user consumes a staggering 66,666MB (so around 65GB) per month.""

A more accurate conclusion from that math may have been:

"That means that O2 is full of shit."

Cap ? What about you charge for it, i pay it, (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537776)

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 ?

Re:Cap ? What about you charge for it, i pay it, (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537884)

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.

Re:Cap ? What about you charge for it, i pay it, (1)

Alphathon (1634555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538270)

I really don't think you mean literally there. That would likely be illegal.

Re:Cap ? What about you charge for it, i pay it, (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538484)

Guess you haven't read the EULA.

Re:Cap ? What about you charge for it, i pay it, (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538682)

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.

Telco says: "Monetize it!" (3, Insightful)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.)

They did this ages ago to me anyway (4, Interesting)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537828)

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.

Doesn't seem likely (2, Insightful)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537842)

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:)

your math doesn't seem likely either (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538154)

your math is wrong... there are ~2.6M seconds in a month... 200Kb * 2.6M = 5,200,000,000Kb... nearly 1TB... way WAY over 65GB

always some mundane detail, right? pesky decimal places.

Re:Doesn't seem likely (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538156)

Yeah. Or, if they did have this problem, they could solve it by bandwidth shaping, or any of many other solutions. And, of course, in the end, this is just, simply, an excuse for price gouging... O2 is buying the data in bulk and setting a cap so low, that they can take a huge multiple of actual costs...

in short, they're greedy thieving bastards. No surprise there.

Re:Doesn't seem likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538302)

i feel sorry for you. speedtest.net reports my 3g connection at an average of 1200kbps down and 350kbps up. midwestern us, verizon

This is only a temporary setback. (1)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537904)

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 way just as an operating system process scheduler deals with many different kinds of programs running at the same time. Just give a little bit less priority to the guy doing the gigabyte download over the guy doing light web surfing. How hard is this to do?

G.

Re:This is only a temporary setback. (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538036)

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.

Re:This is only a temporary setback. (1)

Gavin Scott (15916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538128)

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.

Re:This is only a temporary setback. (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538690)

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.

Re:This is only a temporary setback. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538416)

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.

Screw your best customers == business win? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32537922)

That's what it looks like. Hey, I know, let's alienate our best customers and give them an incentive to move to another provider.

I suppose it is a bad thing if the heavy eaters keep showing up to the all-you-can-eat buffet night and cost you more than you charge, but if they keep paying their money and the majority of customers are eating far less than it costs you, is that a good reason to shut down the smorgasbord entirely?

"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."

The number looks realistic, but I'm reminded of the failures of certain companies to recognize the importance of the "long tail" of data distributions. Is that 0.1% really the portion that you want to annoy? And if it's 0.1% that are accounting for a third of traffic, then I hope O2 set their cap just shy of that level so they are only affecting 0.1% of their customers. Oh, wait, no they aren't, because the summary does the math and O2 are impacting A LOT more customers than that. It's obvious they care less about that long tail and more about gouging a significant fraction of their customers.

Re:Screw your best customers == business win? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538372)

That's what it looks like. Hey, I know, let's alienate our best customers and give them an incentive to move to another provider.

Their best customers are the ones that are the least demanding, easiest and cheapest to service.

All the wrong approach (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537950)

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 bandwidth usage and thereby reducing the network's utility for everybody.

It seems much more sensible to me to prioritize heavy users traffic so that they are at a low priority compared to everybody else. The ideal way to run your network from a cost/benefit standpoint is at the maximum capacity at which your network is efficient (i.e. not at 100% if your network falls down at 100%). I have a guess that deprioritizing heavy users has more of a chance of getting making that happen than trying to use economic incentives for them to reduce their usage.

And on a different note, it really disturbs me that telecom companies are considering a segment of their customer base to be the enemy instead of looking at it as a phenomena to be managed.

Re:All the wrong approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538350)

You've made the classic mistake of thinking this was done for technical or bandwidth reasons. You've bought the company's spin about it being a technical requirement hook, line, and sinker.

No, it's nothing of the sort. It's about, surprise...... money. They couldn't care less how much 'utility' their users get out of their network just so long as they are deriving maximum profit from it. Of course there is a relationship between utility and profit, and at some point customers will find utility reduced enough to switch networks, but there are significant time / money / frustration costs in making such a switch, not to mention contractual obligations, so the reduction in utility would have to be severe.

I'm not exactly condemning this as they are a business and if you can make more money doing things a different way, you'd need a good reason not to do so. Money talks and it usually has the loudest voice.

As for being disturbed that some customers are being treated as the 'enemy'... this may seem irrational from a customer 'hey I'm the customer, I'm always right and I demand you to treat me like a king!' mentality, but if you look at it from a business perspective it makes a lot more sense. In the real world, some customers are unprofitable. Companies can and do actively disuade or even prohibit doing business with unprofitable customers.

What's the point of retaining unprofitable customers? Making money is a primary motivation for being in business, even if it's not the main one (non-profits are different though). You want profits to be maximised or near-maximised. A certain segment of customers lower your profits and are therefore antithetical to your goals. Your profits would be higher if you got rid of them. The only logical thing to do is cut them loose either by directly refusing their business or by imposing obscene pricing structures on them such that they either become profitable again or leave of their own accord. That's just common business sense and not, in my view, unethical at all.

Really, the idea of 'unlimited' anything is a joke. Somebody has to pay for it somewhere. There's no free lunch.

Frankly I'm happy they're being more upfront about the fact that there are limits instead of having stupid 'fairness' policies that they can use to arbitrarily terminate your agreement at any point.

1GB is not enough for browsing (1)

ciantic (626550) | more than 4 years ago | (#32537952)

I currently work on ~3.6Mbps (according to speedtest.net) wireless 3G, I installed this three days ago and my downloaded data shows 1.91GB.

I have not used this to anything special, meaning no P2P or such. How on earth can someone accept 1GB cap? It does not qualify normal browsing for two days.

Sure there is a lot of traffic in populous areas but that is not a reason to set a cap in areas where there is a very little traffic.

Re:1GB is not enough for browsing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538086)

How the hell did you use almost 2GB in three days on a cell phone, if you're not downloading full movies?

Re:1GB is not enough for browsing (1)

Tikkun (992269) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538326)

How the hell did you use almost 2GB in three days on a cell phone, if you're not downloading full movies?

He doesn't use Adblock.

Re:1GB is not enough for browsing (1)

drej (1663541) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538616)

He's probably also one of those users who complain that firefox hogs all the computers memory if you have more than 100 tabs open.

Re:1GB is not enough for browsing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538206)

in this house 3 users manage around 9 gigs a month. I'm browsing and on irc etc all day every day, I also run a web server (all on this one ADSL connection). 2 gigs in two days on a 3G connection seems excessive to me...

To Whom It May Concern (1, Troll)

cyber0ne (640846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538028)

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.

Parent, a-parent-ly, patent-ly false (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538046)

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...

It has begun (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538052)

Since broadband adoption via "unlimited service" lures was an industry success, companies have wanted this de-coupling from "unlimited" expectations for years. They only needed a strong business to take the first step before following suit.

Without any monthly fee reduction to us subscribers, ISP binary USENET was killed not long ago in a similar chain reaction. I know that a few ISP's have revealed caps and similar plans, but nobody is copying eagerly them yet. How long will it be till ISP's bring this cellphone initiative into our de-facto world of DSL and cable?

They moved (1)

molecular (311632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538144)

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.

Set numbers better (1)

nebular (76369) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538380)

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.

Gasp! The Horror! (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538382)

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!!

Move to GiffGaff instead of using O2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32538446)

I lost my slashdot login years ago so I hope this gets seen as an A/C.

Stumbled across giffgaff.com recently. They use O2's network and stipulate that THEIR unlimited bandwidth IS unlimited. I moved over from simplicity and have had great service.
Might be a good option for those who are as fed up of O2 as I was.

Cheers.

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