back to article O2: We didn't know we were capping 3G data speeds

O2 admitted today it has been capping speeds for its 3G customers, but claims that this is all down to a "provisioning error" rather than a deliberate policy of profiling its subscriber base. This would all make more sense if it wasn't a clear reversal of the position it explained to us last week, when it rationalised its …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Jared Earle

    NO FEAR!

    I'm not scared of Bill Ray.

  2. Steve Evans

    I love that phrase...

    "A small proportion..."

    Whenever I see that, I read "99.9%"

    Can we have a show of hands? How about an El Reg vote?

  3. Neil

    O2 don't know what they're doing

    "While it's hard to have confidence in a network that arbitrarily limits connection speeds"

    It's also hard to have confidence in a network that arbitrarily bills it's customers for random amounts on data calls they haven't made... O2 don't seem to have a clue what they're doing, but will insist they do until the customer produces evidence to the contrary...

    I'm anxiously waiting for a bill the cr@pp O2 billing system requesting substantial monies for data calls made on my old O2 phone (which is currently in an O2 repair center) on a T-Mobile SIM (which is currently in a different phone) using the number I ported out of O2 at the beginning of the month - then lets see them wriggle out of that one! Useless w@nkers.

    Pirates, because that who seem to be running O2 accounts... If you had Coco the Clown he'd have been my first choice for the jokers running the network...

  4. Andrew Wigglesworth

    It's not just the kilos they're confused on

    O2 seem to have mixed up MBps with Mbps as well. Or are their new speeds really potentially 7.6 times faster than a domestic 8Mbps connection?

    Then again, since so few seem to get 8Mbps...

  5. Anonymous Coward

    PR Disaster x2

    And what was it they said about Reg readers again?

    Could say worse abou tthem...

  6. censored

    CS and Tech Staff don't know...

    O2 Select has little idea what I was on about, then came back from speaking to the tech department to tell me that they don't cap the speeds and it's impossible for them to do so!

  7. fred
    IT Angle

    kb verses kB

    Kilobit (kb), ), a unit of information used, for example, to quantify computer memory or storage capacity

    Kilobyte (kB), a unit of information used, for example, to quantify computer memory or storage capacity

  8. Anonymous Coward

    why bother with customer service atall.

    BT, now O2 and countless other firms who have any technology in their business simply do not inform their customer service staff of any information. Is it any wonder people are not brand loyal when they treat with more than contempt by delberately witholding truthful information from its customers.

    We seem to be mad on new legislation in this country, maybe its time we had one to hold companies to account when they lie. e.g. If i spent 2 hours calling them, being told to re-connect and dis-connect, reboot etc etc... then they should compensate me.. if only to teach them to be communicative internally.

    Anyone in internal comms reading the register? Well as an industry you have mostly failed!

  9. censored

    Oh yeah and...

    Another CS person told me it was due to the roll-out of 3.5G, so some customers might not get full speed on it yet.

  10. Daniel Silver badge


    Uh ...


  11. Anonymous Coward

    3G whats that?

    I've been stuck with O2 for coming up to a year now.

    Had I known that they have NO 3G coverage in my area what-so-ever I'd have never signed up with them.

    Soon as I leave my home town (which is actually a city in the central UK) I get 3G coverage. It'd be nice to have it at home, let alone full speeds!

    Joke alert cos O2 are the Fasthosts of the telecomms world.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I doubt it myself.

  13. Pete
    Paris Hilton


    I asked in a o2 store a few days ago: "What connection speed will I get if I take a N95?"

    (She went find out) "128kbps" was the answer.

  14. Clarence


    Millimetre (mm), a unit of information used, for example, to quantify the distance between two points

    Kilometre (km), a unit of information used, for example, to quantify the distance between two points

    I seem to have missed your point?

  15. bigolslabomeat

    Apparently I have an HSDPA connection

    And always have.

    So why does the speed test show it as only being 121kbp/s at peak?

    To test for yourself go to on your mobile.

    I will test my speed regularly this week and see if O2 fulfill their promise, but I don't hold out much hope that they will!

  16. Ben Cross

    I hate O2

    The amount of hassle o2 has given me in the past due to themselves being anal, i can't say i'm too surprised.

    Unfortunately a hell of alot of companies act the same way, are there are any decent companies around these days!? (not a rhetorical question so if u know of any, let me know!)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You're not in Hull are you? I seem to remember that BT had problems with Hull landline-wise. And since O2 used to be BT Cellnet, they may have had similar problems in Hull with their mobile network.

  18. Gianni Straniero

    Re: kb verses kB


    I think you broke the first rule of Reg Club:

  19. Raymondo B
    Thumb Down


    That's O2 for you! A handful of people who understand the tech and the rest probably going right up to board level are as blank as a clean piece of paper.

    Although to be fair that could apply to a lot of companies.

  20. Ben Bufton

    And here comes the iPhone...

    I have a bit of a problem with all this 3G stuff - I live just outside central London and commute into the West End every day... in 4 years if I get a call (and this is Vodafone and O2 on all sorts of different handsets) at Wateroo, I have to redial at least 3 times by the time I get to Surbiton (about 8 miles). IN 2008, IN CENTRAL LONDON, I CAN'T KEEP A PHONE CALL FOR A 15 MINUTE TRAIN TRIP!!

    And everybody goes on about 3G - wtf?? Let's just have a network that says - forget 3G, here's a system that let's you use your mobile phone as a fucking phone!

    It's total bullshit. And if that wasn't enough, how are those creaking 3G networks going to cope when the iPhone starts to actually use them?! I tell you how - really well, coz nobody's ever going to be able to get 3G reception in the first place...

    And another thing - bread is so expensive these days... I'll get my coat.

  21. Martin


    to hell with 3.5G, I'm still waiting for O2 to finish rolling out EDGE!

    When I spoke to them before buying my Jesus Phone (which I bought from the apple store), they told me they had "good coverage". To date, I'e only ever seen the EDGE icon appear 3 times

    Thankfully I get WiFi access in the most important places (i.e. at home, and at the pub)

  22. alistair millington
    Thumb Up


    O2 are all outsourced and separate companies, no wonder they can't tell backside from elbow.


    There's a reg club... (hastily opens a new tab in firefox 3 beta 5 and has a look)

    NIce. That is the afternoon gone.

  23. censored

    @ Martin

    I agree. My comment was more to point out the idiocy of the staff. Somehow rolling out a much faster speed limits everyone on 3.5G and 3G to something around GPRS?!

    I can only assume it's like putting in a new pipe in your bathroom. You have to turn off all the taps, or the whole plumbing system will leak...

  24. Ben Cross

    @ Raymondo B


    You copied my earlier comment! lol...but yeah i agree completely...

    @ Alistair M.

    - so in order to save costs, they outsource, meaning we get left with a bunch of munchkins who know nothing (And it's not their fault to a large extent), but some are a bit clueless and we end up with all the stress.

    It's all about CRM & CS, maybe o2 could read up on CRM a bit - i think of it as a philosophy. Treating customers decent enough so they don't moan all the time, seems the more complaints a company has, the happier they are! (if that's not the case then why do they give us so much stuff to complain about?)

  25. Neil Alexander


    I just did a speedtest on O2 EDGE and I'm getting 127kbit/s. I would have expected much better from any 3G network, even O2.

  26. Matthew

    @Ben Bufton

    I for one would be grateful you couldn't stay on the phone for an entire train trip. I'm sick to death of hearing 'I'M ON THE TRAIN" type stuff yelled (supposedly) down the phone but actually at an entire carriage.

    Ever considered it could be public-spirited anti-phone window mesh or portable jammers that could be your issue here?

  27. pctechxp

    3G has failed

    Was and still is a complete con.

    I mean its a mobile phone for goodness sake, wtf do you want hight speed internet access on it?

  28. Hrishikesh

    @I love that phrase

    <quote> Can we have a show of hands? How about an El Reg vote? </quote>

    I think a small proportion of El Regers would agree with you ...

  29. Nicola Redwood

    I feel conned

    100kbit/sec on average

    Don't want to do the speed tests too often as it costs too much!!!

  30. Jason Rivers

    @ pctechxp

    that's simple - to use it as a bluetooth modem for your laptop when you're away from home.

    I guess you don't travel much, huh?

  31. Bananimal


    <quote>The O2 network is fully HSDPA-enabled and we will be further increasing the maximum speeds available on HSDPA throughout the year, up to 7.2 MBps.</quote>

    Really?! Last time Ofcom checked they weren't even fully 3g enabled. The only time I've connected to HSDPA on O2 was in the Arlington business centre in Leeds (where a large chunk of their customer services is based). Certainly don't get any in Glasgow in any of the areas that I can on the same handset with a 3 sim card. I can't even maintain a 3g connection on the short train journey home (3's network copes admirably on the same journey).

  32. Gary Smith
    Thumb Down

    Like treacle trying to climb a wall of flypaper

    Over here in Ireland I am on the Three 3G network. The speeds are absolutely pathetic - more akin to dial-up the vast majority of the time regardless of whether I am in a city or a village - something is seriously amiss with these mobile "broadband"

    3G systems/offers - the greatest con/rip off ever perhaps!!!????

  33. Christopher A Newman


    Ok enough O2 bashing already. I have 2 contracts, one with Voda (Wife's phone) mine on O2. I live in the North West and always have a 3G signal and she hasn't. Voda's s**t billing system is always 3 days out of date whereas the O2 one sometimes shows calls from the same day, if not up to 10pm the night before.

    I get free O2 to O2 calls, 400 xnet minutes (Including video calls), 1000 texts where I can use them for MMS or video as well and 1mb browsing allowance all for £20/month. If that was on anyone elses network then it'd cost a bloody fortune as NO other network allows you to use your text allowance for MMS or video messaging so at least O2 are fair and don't bend you over like all the rest when you actually use ALL the functions on modern mobiles!

    So come on all you Voda, Orange, Tbag fanboys and beat that............

  34. Andy Davies

    phones on trains or elsewhere.


    So we can be thankful for SMALL mercies then!

    btw I have no problems with O2 - my BT Cellnet sim still works aok in my old Nokia candybar phone - it has cost me a rather excessive £15 or so in call charges over the years though <vbg>

    AndyD 8-)#

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I want a partial refund

    Ok, I've been on O2 for over 18 months, on a business contract with two devices - originally an XDA, now a Nokia N95 with a Sierra Wireless 3G Data card.

    I need the data card for working remotely and transferring files where speed is very important to me. A matter of minutes can decide whether or not I make a sale.

    I had no idea that despite paying over £50 contract fee, plus separate data tariff charges over the last 18 months, I wasn't getting the full service I was paying for.

    After reading this, I called them to demand they up my speeds - which they've looked at and agreed to do - but I'm going to push for compensation. They even had the bloody cheek to charge me £10 for a 3G sim card - even though I'm not getting the 3G bandwidth!!!


    Paris - she knows full well how to get the best out of mobile features.

  36. JP Strauss
    IT Angle

    kb vs kB

    seeing as 8 b's make up 1 B, is it safe to assume that 1 kb(1024 b's) = 0,128kB eg

    1 Mbps = 128kBps?

  37. JP Strauss
    Dead Vulture

    Re: Whoa!

    You're not employed by said 02 by any chance, are you?

  38. Nipsirc

    @I want a partial refund

    "A matter of minutes can decide whether or not I make a sale." You need to have a chat with the guy who's galled by the fact he can't annoy everyone on the train for the full 15 minutes. I bet you'd get on really well...

    So before 3G came along you were skint and constantly missing your targets eh? I love the way that you didn't realise until you were told about only getting 128 kbBbbbBBbs - shows what a difference it makes.

  39. Christopher A Newman

    @ JP Strauss

    No I'm not. Just someone who appreciates value for money over jumping on the slagging off O2 bandwagon!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Yes actually. I'm a freelance photographer. While I used to be scurrying around for a wi-fi point, my competitors would be wiring their images in via their mobiles...

    I bought into the 3G mobile workflow to join them, not realising that they were probably still at an advantage and getting their images to the picturedesks first...

    First images in usually hit the front pages first, and since I only get paid when my images are used - yes, I was constantly missing targets and remained skint.

    I also don't particularly like sitting outside dodgy music venues in the arse-end of town for long periods with a laptop on display being delayed by a network inflicted speed restriction.

    It's not a huge difference, but if my competitors are filing at 64kbps while I'm stuck at 24kbps even in 3G or 3.5g coverage, it stands to reason they're likely to get a higher hit rate than I am - even if their photos aren't as good as mine.. ;-)

    Paris: Because she likes phones AND cameras.

  41. Graeme Hill

    Fully HSDPA Enabled Network?????

    Someone at O2 has been very busy, as back at the end of February, a spokesman told the guardian newspaper that they expected to have 80% 3G coverage by the end of June. In addition, I have just checked my local postcode on their website for 3G coverage, and strangely enough, there is none, so, one could easily surmise there is no HSDPAcoverage either (checked this as well, just to be on the safe side, and HSDPA coverage is non-existant). So, when they say "The O2 network is fully HSDPA-enabled and we will be further increasing the maximum speeds available on HSDPA throughout the year, up to 7.2 MBps", which part of the network are they referring to????

    Someone should tell slOw2 that their network extends past the boundaries of the M25 (into the bits of the map that say "Here Be Dragons") so they can at least give consistent information from week to week

  42. pctechxp

    what about pay and go customers?

    Well I asked customer service after the first story broke and was told that they didn't limit speeds.

    After El Reg uncovered this corker I mailed again to see if I am provisioned correctly as the highest speed I have ever got was 89Kbps with an SE K800i

    Have mailed twice over the course of the past couple of days (as they usually respond quickly) but have failed to receive a response.

    Will try phoning later, beginning to think the issue is being ignored (for PAYG customers at least)

  43. Jason Sheldon
    Thumb Down

    3.5g in birmingham

    my nokia n95 has shown 3.5g for at least 6 months here in birmingham. No wonder i didnt find it impressive - i was being capped too!

  44. KCJH

    My 3.5G on 02 is.........

    ......... 105 kbit/sec according to

  45. Erlang Lacod
    IT Angle

    Works for me

    It seems works for me though I must confess I never use it for anything serious on the move.

    Not so long ago hardly anyone bothered with data over mobile 3G, 2G or Ali G.

    Without much real demand I guess no one was that intersted in providing it either as presumaly this would need them to buy much bigger mainsprings for all their clocks and more engineers to wind them. Mobile data is now getting to be a commodity though I dont believe theres really still enormous take up. Like anything else the suppliers must battle for market position leapfrogging with ever higher data speeds and ceiling limits trying to attract customers away from each other as these people do.

  46. pctechxp

    pay and go CS

    Well I phoned and got some guy that didn't have a clue about 3G

    He put me on hold for three minutes, came back and announced that the main features of 3G were video calling (a circuit switched service), improved call quality and I quote 'the service goes a little bit faster'

    Any chance of asking O2 whether their pay and go APN is going to be sorted out too please Bill as customer services seem to be clueless.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    For all those who haven't been upgraded yet... is soo much nicer now.

    paris.. because I'm sure I've just seen her.

  48. John McGough

    English people know zip......

    It's funny, I talk to someone based in one of the Call Centres in England, and they haven't the foggiest what I am talking about. I got some bullshit this evening that O2 isn't legally obliged by law to provide 3G reception, when I rebutted with the wrist slap they got from OFCOM last year due to the lack of 3G coverage, it sharp shut the operator up. Still I got put through to someone in the Glasgow Sky Park office and after explaining the issue, they said a form was completed to increase the speeds on my account. I asked for compensation and the gentlemen said he wasn't able to offer it, however I got the Web Bolt on free of charge from my next billing date...

    The Scots for some reason have always been more willing to deal with this issue head on, where English have been more lacking. I never figure that one, either way I should have my problem sorted by next internet! I ain't gonna complain at that!

  49. Markda2000

    @ John Mcgough

    John Mcgough - are you by any chnace on a £35 per month tariff or more?

  50. John McGough

    @ Markda2000

    My tariff is indeed above £35 per month (specifically the discontinued Online 45), but on a 12 month contract, is this where you tell me I should be getting it free anyway? Cos I'll be even more pissed if thats the case.

  51. Winston

    @ John McGough

    My tariff is in store o2 35 and i get the 'unlimited' web bolt on for free.

    So yes, really you should be getting it for free provided you haven't already got other free bolt ons.

    On another note, o2 made good on upping my speed. they recently turned on HSDPA in Manchester around when the original story about bandwidth capping broke and after several calls to CS they have indeed removed the cap. Before i was getting about 14kbps actual download speed, testing through my computer over bluetooth, and now its up to just over 100kbps actual download speed.

    I was T-mobile before and i got about 200kbps actual download speed, so o2 clearly have a way to go but at least there trying. albeit after a lot of pushing.

  52. Markda2000

    @ John Mcgough

    No you should not be getting it free on a 12month contract only as an option on 18 month contracts at £35 or above.

  53. DW De-bunker

    Enabled... maybe not

    Just like the phrase "Up to 8Mb" clearly including zero, "enabled" doesn't necessarily mean "for you to use Mr Average Paying Punter".

    Not everyone has upgraded or switched on HSDPA on Nodes which are enabled for it, and frankly I'd be surprised if you got anything much outside from any operator outside Central London postcodes or where they have their own or large corporate customer offices.

    Marketing Sh@*espeak I suspect...

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like