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‘At the carphone warehouse, you won’t pay extra for internet’

Screen shot 2011 04 13 at 18 53 36

That headline is a direct quote from a radio advertisement I heard just now from the Carphone Warehouse.

Bad news for the market.

Bad news for the data crunch.

Bad news for the end customer.

Very bad news.

It’s bad news because it’s educating consumers that the internet has little value. So little value that you’ll get it chucked in free with monthly contracts starting at just £12. Like the rubbish toys you get in cereal packets.

I understand why Carphone is running the campaign. They’ve probably got some research that shows consumers really don’t like getting data bill shock and that they don’t understand what a meg or a gig means.

It’s laudable. But there’s quite a few problems. You really do need to read the fine print.

For example, the handset advertised on the site is the HTC Wildfire. You can have it ‘free’ on a 24-month contract at £12 per month. Sounds good, that. That’s with Carphone’s own Talkmobile MNVO.

If you opt for a recognised brand like Vodafone, you’ll pay £15 per month for 24-months. The phone’s still free. But there’s NO data allowance at all. If you pay £15/month with Orange, you’ll get 250mb of inclusive data.

So you only get the unlimited deal with Carphone’s operator. Fair enough. But there’s an asterisk. Here it is:

Subject to fair use policy, but the good news is the fair use policy does not apply to Talkmobile ‘Never pay for the internet’ deals.

So if you take out the £12 one from Talkmobile, you’ll be ok. You’ll never pay for the internet.

This sounds like a really good deal, until you try downloading 100gb of data via your handset’s data connection.

I wonder what Carphone would do?

I thought that perhaps Talkmobile was running on 3UK which given it’s substantial investment in mobile data (and relatively low network load) is able to offer unmetered data without breaking a sweat.

I asked around on Twitter (thanks Dan) and apparently Talkmobile is an MVNO running on Vodafone.

Therefore gentlemen (and ladies) if you’d like absolutely truly unlimited data on Vodafone, get yourself a £12/month contract from Talkmobile.

I’ll eat my hat if it’s actually truly unlimited. The fair use policy doesn’t apply, eh?

I wonder.

It’d be super if this was entirely accurate. I wonder if, perhaps, Vodafone (or Talkmobile) will simply hobble your connection if you end up using a ton of data in a given time period? That would make sense.

Ironically it’s this kind of completely transparent ‘unlimited-and-we-mean-it’ that consumers will respond well to. Sadly it’s a bit of a tightrope walk to get what Carphone are advertising. Make one slip up and you’ll be on a 250mb/month price plan with Orange for 24-months.

Anyway, check out Talkmobile’s site here: http://www.talkmobile.co.uk/

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 “‘At the carphone warehouse, you won’t pay extra for internet’”

The T&C for Talkmobile data runs something like: “Don’t take the piss, or we’ll have to make up an unlimited data policy”

So there’s no way of knowing, until someone does push that P2P boat too far.

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