back to article UK iPhone customers to get fairer usage

O2 has decided that iPhone users on its network won't be limited by their "fair usage" policy, and really will get "unlimited" access to the internet. But other customers signed up for "unlimited" contracts will have to wait and see if O2 decides all their usage is fair too. UK punters signing up for an iPhone, exclusively on …


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  1. Steven Foster
    Thumb Up

    Getting there though.

    I guess they should at least be commended for taking the first step with regard to Fair usage. And in this case I mean Fair Usage on their behalf.

    I've always had a real problem with any network offering "unlimited" internet, which in actual fact has a limit hidden in an ambiguous "Fair use" policy. Imo, it's sly and underhanded.

    Good on O2.

  2. AJ
    IT Angle

    O2 Should Lead The Way...

    ... To Show 'Unlimited' Should Be Unlimited!

    Afterall that is how it is described in the dictionary. If they are worried about the differences between the 2 packages its simply resolved:

    1. Market 'O2 Web' As A 'Lite' Web Plan With A Cap, Cheaper Access Online With Limitations - Not Advertised As 'Unlimited' Simply 'Lite' Easy!

    2. Market 'O2 Web MAX' As An 'All You Can Eat, Truely Unlimited Web Plan. Again Easy...

    But while they are at it, change the 1st one to either £5/mth or a higher limit to get people onto it.

  3. Peter
    Jobs Horns

    No Sher Shitlock

    "customer feedback has been that if we say unlimited, it should be unlimited."

    Well duuh, as my 12 year old would say.

  4. Stuart Lauder


    There's more than that between the Web and Web Max. The Web Bolt-on prohibits use of the phone as a GPRS modem for a computer, the Web Max doesn't, so even if the fair usage limits are lifted, there's still a difference.

  5. michael
    Thumb Up

    unlimited should mean unlimited

    if they do this it would be well done unlimited should mean unlimited I ma fed up of big text "unlimited broadband" microscopic text "subject to fair use of 1mb per mounth" this is almost false advitising

  6. Ben W


    Company's should be forced by the trade accociation and other relevant governing bodies to remove the word unlimited from any product that is not "unlimited" its a joke!

    by the meaning of the word,


    un·lim·it·ed /ʌnˈlɪmɪtɪd/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[uhn-lim-i-tid]

    Pronunciation –adjective

    1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined: unlimited trade.

    2. boundless; infinite; vast: the unlimited skies.

    3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional.


    Without any qualiufication or exception; unconditional,

    My posterior!!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    back of an envelope...

    Back of an envelope calculation assuming GPRS connection maxed out at full data rate.... scribble scribble... you'd need to pull down data solid for 116 hours to hit 3GB (with perfect rates and connections).

    Perhaps they've just concluded that realistically people aren't going to go over their fair use limit and they'll get more publicity by announcing it's really unlimited than the very slim chance that someone will actually pull down over 3GB of data.

  8. Nick Palmer
    Jobs Horns

    @back of an envelope...

    Which'd militate against the expansion of the deal to other, more capable devices (i.e. those which can handle 3G/HSDPA) since they're MUCH more capable of burning through that amount of data rapidly.

  9. Steve Evans
    Jobs Horns

    @Anonymous Coward

    You beat me too it...

    An iPhone automatically restricts your usage due to it's lack of support for 3G.

    As the article says, you could always chuck the SIM into a phone with 3G support, so it will be interesting to see if...

    a) The SIM will do data via 3G

    b) O2 won't throw all their toys out of the pram and drop you for breaching some small print in the T&C.

    If it will do A and B doesn't happen, it's almost worth buying and chucking the SIM in a 3G laptop datacard... The iPhone can go on ebay.

    Oh and @Ben W

    We all feel your pain brother.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No 3G or HSDPA

    Agree with the person above - even with EDGE available, most users will struggle to use 200MB. The slowness of GPRS will force consumers to use the free wifi in McDonalds or The Cloud elsewhere.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ben W

    Exactamundo! this "fair use" policy most ISPs have introduced is complete bullcrap, I think Demon are one of the biggest urine-extractors on this topic, dropping ADSL users speeds down to less than ISDN if they went over 50gb in a month - and no way of getting Demon to tell you how much of that 50gb you've used!

    But at least Demon tell you how much you can have, ISPs such as Pipex don't even tell you that, you just get warned (or booted off) if you go over their 'imaginary' limits.

    --+- the user who has been kicked off two dialup ISPs and one ADSL ISP for over-use of packages labelled 'unlimited' -+-

  12. Stuart Lauder

    @Steve Evans

    The actually rather large print detailing the Unlimited data use part of the iPhone tariffs does state that you can't use the SIM in another device, so O2 would be well within their rights to start charging for access if you put the SIM in an N95 or a data card.

  13. daniel
    Jobs Horns

    Fair use...

    "customer feedback has been that if we say unlimited, it should be unlimited."

    So, they have 'fessed up to lying about their limited unlimited offer...

  14. Anonymous Coward


    And I wouldn't be supprised if there was a seperate apn for all those shiny iphones, which only supports edge.

    I'll just wait until they bundle the broadband/3g/hspda/edge/gprs into one "data" package for a fixed fee per month.....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    there will be some other limit thrown in, no limits on the data, but something will be introduced 'to prevent abuse' or people viewing messaging sites or anything useful somehow.

    and since the T&C will basically state they can make any changes they want whenever they want..


    not that I'm cynical where Oturnip is concerned.

    if the iPhone could actually connect at a half decent rate I may consider it.

    but since I'd have to buy the phone outright I fail to see why I have a tied contract, I thought the tied contract was to recover a subsidy on the handset.. hmmm

  16. daniel
    Jobs Horns


    If a contract was to recover the subsidy, why are minutes more expensive on a "pay as you go" phone where you have purchased the phone outright.

    Fscking Bar Stewards, the lot of 'em.

  17. Danny Thompson

    The first company to honour Unlimited

    O2 are to be congratulated for being the first out of the stocks in the non-race to provide a service that matches its description - Unlimited.

    But wait! All is not entirely what it seems. The definition of the word is only applied to the iPhone contract. All other Unlimited offerings from O2 remain severely capped. Surely a touch of classic Bliarism (sic) on the go here.

    What I really cannot understand is how the c*ck-sucking ASA stands by and does nothing at this blatant and flagrant misinformation being bandied around by all of the mobile network operators (and ISPs for that matter). How can any of the UK's trade regulators [continue to] allow this re-definition of the word Unlimited? Someone must have the photograph of them hanging out of the back end of a Donkey!

    But whatever, I'm still not interested in a 2G/2.5G iPhone. Sorry Steve, come back when you've caught up with the rest of the World outside the You-Es-of-Aee (there is one you know).

  18. Matt Webster

    Not all O2s fault

    I don't think O2 can be blamed from calling their previous web packages 'unlimited'

    Obviously most Reg readers would quickly notice the asterisk next to any unlimited package and read the entire T&C until they knew the exact limit.

    If O2 had previously advertised it as a 200Mb limit most people would instinctively look for an "unlimited" package elsewhere, without even checking the true limit.

    After all, its more logical to assume that a 200Mb limit is worse than an Unlimited* package, unless you're cynical.

    I agree that nobody should use the term Unlimited unless it truely is. If I bought a Honda with an unlimited milage warranty thats exactly what I'd get!

  19. MrT

    Anyone read the new O2 T&Cs yet...?

    ...cos there's more to worry about than the 200MB limit at first glance...

    nip off to and about 2/5ths through the presenter flashes through the Apple and presumably the old, still-to-be-revised O2 T&Cs.

    Now, I appreciate that the legal team at O2 may be busy scribbling out the final paragraph where the 'fair use' thing is mentioned, but just above it is a list of other 'not permitted' uses.

    As well as the usual one about VoIP, these include:

    - Instant messaging (no iChat then, or whatever the equivalent of Communicator is on Apple - is even text-based IM out?)

    - P2P file sharing (no-one in their right mind will set up a BitTorrent seeder or join a swarm, but does this include swapping ringtones etc between handsets?)

    - Video and TV streaming (so no websites that retain the media file, such as news providers)

    - Use in conjunction with routers. I know they mean that the iPhone cannot be the gateway to a router, in line with not unlocking the modem if plugged into a laptop, but this bit doesn't make a distinction between iPhone as gateway or iPhone as roaming client on, say, BT Openzone/FON. Isn't the iPhone supposed to switch to WiFi automatically when detected and use that in preference to EDGE? Or are O2 trying to screw 'excess use' charges out of people already since they device will do lots of data shuffling without their explicit say - so witness the huge bills for use outside of the country, for example?

    Someone tell me they understand how this thing works - really - because the iPhone contract looks like it's a mildly tweaked version of everyone else's, which includes the operator desperately trying to protect it's voice/text revenue stream by knocking everything else mildly on the back of the head.

    And non-iPhone 200MB from O2? Why does anyone stick with that when the same cash buys much more shackled 'unlimited' usage from other providers like T-Mobile?

    It's been a long day so far...

    Asbestos coat. Tin hat. Door.

  20. Darren7160

    Good Luck

    Okay, I am old and out of date. I just hate how the customer has been turned into being seen as nothing more than a potential mark. Someone to exploit based on slipping something over on them.

    I tell my kids how Free used to mean without cost. Unlimited used to mean without limits.Today it means an opportunity to confuse and manipulate someone into paying for something they don't know about.

    Phone plans are intentionally confusing. No one company sells the same amount of access as the other so a customer can compare apples to apples. The fine print is there to screw the customer, not to clarify the responsibilities of the seller.

    A person should not require a spreadsheet, magnifying glass, dictionary and an appointment with a lawyer simply to prevent someone from being made a victim by supposedly honest businesses.

    I am sorry, but I refuse to surrender myself to cynicism and sit back and say that this is all right and is a part of being a modern consumer society.

    Like rebates, if the company wasn't banking on the chance that the victim, er, customer not getting the rebate for any reason, they would simply offer the item on sale.

    Good luck people with your iPhone.

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