News Operators

Sunday Times does a hatchet job on o2’s STUPID data rates. GET IN!

Paul caught this one and forwarded it over.

Have a read of this article..

I’ve quote some points for you:

Michael Schaefer, 46, an IT specialist from Ealing, west London, was charged £950 in just four days by O2 after using his 3G (third generation) phone to view TV for just two hours.

3G phones offer high-speed access to the internet, allowing users to download TV, films and music to their phones while on the move. Firms have spent billions rolling out the technology across their networks and drumming up interest in the devices.

Schaefer connected his O2 mobile to his home TV with a device called a Slingbox, which uses a broadband link to allow programmes to be ‘streamed” directly to a high-speed mobile without having to wait for it to download. Slingboxes are available from Currys for £140.

He watched the US mid-term elections on CNBC on his mobile for about 45 minutes, costing him £285. On another occasion he watched CNN for 20 minutes, which cost him £188.

Had he used T-Mobile, he would have been charged no more than £27.50 a month, or £35 a month with the 3 network.

However, Schaefer was on an O2 tariff, which allows for only 100 kilobytes (kb) of free downloads, after which £3 is charged per megabyte (mb). However, his 3G phone is capable of downloading 385kb per second, suggesting he used up all his inclusive data allowance in the first second.

I trust Michael will swap to T-Mobile or Three at his earliest possible convenience.

However it’s a little inappropriate to disclaim liability when o2’s ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS mobile data charges are totally clear.

Deary me.

Ok, right, look at this:

After a lengthy letter to the operator, complaining that he was not aware of the charge and arguing that he was simply taking advantage of 3G technology, O2 eventually waived his fee.

Right, if you’re on o2, knock yourself up a letter to o2 and complain that you weren’t aware of the charges. 😉

Michael, you were really, really, really lucky to get away with not paying the grand bill.

‘What’s the real point of offering us faster download speeds with 3G if you can’t then use the technology?” he asked.

You CAN use the technology Michael, as you’ve proved. You just selected a mobile operator that’s extremely adept at keeping its pricing structures static so it can make as much cash as possible before it’s forced, by market conditions, to change.

Now, look at this.

Look at this.

This is one of the BEST POSSIBLE…

… hold on…

You know what, this is definitely going in my book.


Calm down, calm down and relax.

Breathe deeply.

Serene, calm thoughts. Wooooooooooossssaaaahhhh. Wooooosaaaaaah.


Read this — and don’t you dare laugh, yet:

O2 admitted that its technology was moving faster than its pricing structure, adding that a committee had been set up to investigate the issue. ‘Our technology has run away from our tariffs and we are taking action,” it said

That is the quote of the year. The absolute quote of the year.

O2’s PR = total genius.

A ‘committee’ has been set up?

You what?

To ‘investigate’ the issue?

You mean, “Oh shit.. look gents, we’re probably going to have to think about going flat rate at some point…, but you know, let’s talk about it and hope the Times doesn’t run any more nastygrams for the time being, we’re making stupid amounts from all our STUPID users paying 3 quid a meg.”

Our technology has run away from our tariffs?

Well then. You’re either extremely STUPID or, more likely — more accurately — you’re extremely smart. It hasn’t ‘run away’. It’s deliberate.

I was there. I bought one of the first XDAs. I knew how much the data plans cost. They evolved their price plans to work with the XDA. We got a bit of inclusive data too 😉 Just a few meg. But their tariffs evolved.

Only so much though. Their head-of-price-plans chap or chappess at o2 knew exactly what they were doing.

‘We are taking action.’


Well I hope for the sake of your investors, the ‘action’ you refer to is to setup a committee and hang around eating the odd croissant and pouring glasses of sparkling mineral water. You’re making too much money from your idiot subscribers to bother changing short term.

The people that are really bothered — people like me — have already changed to T-Mobile — or possibly Three.

The other 30 odd million will quite happilly pay your 3 quid a meg for a while yet. That is, unless the media really starts nailing o2, Orange and T-Mobile.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

4 replies on “Sunday Times does a hatchet job on o2’s STUPID data rates. GET IN!”

LOL….ROFLMAO….OMG… moving technology….pricing structures and commitees. Now that is absolutely great. Oh my belly is hurting.

Talking about bellies…are you free for lunch on Wed or Thurs?

Ah, poor O2. They’d probably just got back in on Friday after their Christmas party and were ambushed by the Times. Its very difficult to do good PR with a hangover.


Similar to the story here in Germany where the Spiegel reporter spends a month reporting the Tour de France via a PCMCIA card and comes home to a 9000 Euro bill.

Thank God the mainstream press are reporting this.


P.S. I found a full UMTS flat rate with no strings in Germany for 45 Euro per month. (30 quid?) Voice (national) and Data included. Includes 3G USB module for a laptop/umpc. Base is the company. (Part of E-Plus) Shame I can’t buy it as a data only package though.

Paul, very funny, though I have to take issue with your comment: ” . . . it’s a little inappropriate to disclaim liability when o2’s ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS mobile data charges are totally clear.”

While this may be true, the point is that it’s not clear how much you are actually being charged at the time. Try it yourself: stream some data over a smartphone and tell us how much data you’ve downloaded (which is quite different from just surfint). Answer: you can’t!

In retrospect, I don’t believe I was that lucky. The whole business model is just not reasonalbe. It wasn’t based on how UMTS might be used in the future. Instead, it was based on how GPRS was used in the past. As soon as I found a decision maker, the absurdity of the sitation was immediately recognized and dealt with appropriately and swiftly.

My biggest failing was that of an early adopter. I remember similar sitations in the old days when ISDN routers would dial up a connection to deliver an email and then hangup, and then dial again for the next email, and then hangup again and dial again, and so on for each new email. Customers were being charged MORE than their quoted hourly ISDN rate becuase of multiple connection charges. The early adopters of this technolgoy were stuffed for thousands. Ultimately, however, the business model surrounding the technology caught up and now we’re on £12 per month for unmetered wireless access at 10 x’s the speed of wired ISDN; just not on O2, yet.

It’s people like us, constantly pushing the envelope by challenging the old, who make it better for eveyone else! O2 will come around real soon and we’ll know within ourselves that we had something to do with that. Great pub talk.

Keep up the blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.