back to article Orange to 'dump unlimited data tariffs'

Orange UK is to scrap unlimited data plans for new and upgrading customers in the summer, according to reports. You'd better look after your phone then, if you are a heavy data user. Orange is saying nothing in public yet, but the trade paper Mobile "understands" that the cello is to follow the example of 02, which canned …


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  1. Ru

    Unlimited, eh?

    Funny, I don't recall ever seeing an unlimited data plan from any provider. Was this some short lived 'lets make unlimited actually mean unlimited' notion that I'd somehow missed?

    Telcos have always just hidden the limits behind 'fair use', which tended to be pretty limited. Maybe now we'll actually get some meaningful and upfront information about how much bandwidth you really get.

    1. paulf

      Voda was, well sort of

      When I signed up for the 500Mb monthly data allowance on Voda I was told that it was "unlimited" but the fair usage was 500Mb a month. To be fair to the guy he said that they wouldn't charge if I went over the 500Mb because they advertised it as "unlimited" but if I did regularly go over significantly (i.e. took the piss) then I'd be warned at first to reduce my usage then told to move to a proper 3G Data plan.

      So you're right - Fair usage was always the fuzzy catch all get out for them, and limits are much clearer; but the change now is that rather than letting the odd monthly slip above the limit go with a "don't be naughty next month" letter; they just hammer on a fat profit enhancing charge and be done with it.

  2. Chris Pearson

    Not an issue for a high percentage of users

    Even on my most heavy of months I struggle to break 100MB, often far less. From what I have read and people I know this is pretty common.

    So it seems that this isn't as big a deal as it sounds and will only really affect a small percentage of users who really hammer it, or have this as their only connection.

    1. It'sa Mea... Mario

      iPlayer, Youtube etc

      Some people do insist on watching iPlayer and youtube vids etc over their 3G connection.

      It's those guys that will feel it.

  3. Kevin Fairhurst

    In other words...

    ... they (or rather the billing system provider - is it AMDOCS/Excalibur all round the telcos now?) have finally worked out how they can calculate how much someone has gone over their allowance, and can thus charge for it now. If they'd have been able to charge for it before, they would have!

    It's like with roaming MMS messages - they don't charge the same for them as UK-sent messages because they're generous... it's because they can't differentiate between and MMS sent from their own network and one sent from a roaming partner. Ergo, they can only charge you as though you sent it while in the UK!

    1. paulf

      Are you sure?

      I remember sending an MMS from the USofA to the UK in 2006, while roaming on my Orange UK SIM, and getting hammered over a quid for the pleasure by Orange. It could have been that the phone used the data connection to send the packaged up MMS to the Orange message centre which is where the cost came from, but the charge was most certainly more than the UK cost at the time of (IIRC) 50p.

      I'm tempted to give your theory a go in Germany in August, while roaming with a Vodafone UK SIM - at least it'll be in the EU so if it does switch on the data connection for the upload again I will be prevented of racking up more than EUR 5 million of charges!

      1. Kevin Fairhurst


        Hmmm maybe Orange are different then (different billing system?) - however, certainly for T-Mobile, and I think O2 as well, if you look at the roaming costs on their web page, they don't differentiate in how much it costs to send an MMS compared to UK prices. Checked with Voda too... they don't charge a different amount, but DO charge you for using data while abroad. I guess there's two camps then, those that charge a fixed amount regardless of where you send the MMS from, and those that also add on the cost of the data charges!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Actually, you may find it's cheaper to send an mms than an sma when roaming aborad. Daft...

  4. LuMan
    Thumb Down

    Thanks, Orange

    That goes a long way to helping me decide whether or not I stay with you at renewal time.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thanks, Orange

      and who are you going to go with instead? considering the rest are doing the same.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      That is all.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Cartel ?

    First 02 :

    Now Orange.

    OfCom - where are you ?

  6. Monkeigh

    Never was unlimited.

    Orange tariffs never had unlimited data. They have always been capped to 750mb per month. They are quite up front about this despite calling it an 'unlimited' package!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Typical - Again

    Bastards all !

    But seriously, when the whole world is going Data intensive and major hardwares becoming so (Apple I's Htc, Streaks etc), these assholes going backwards when the REAL scenario and possibility of data intensive and streaming applications are coming online,

    They had their hands (not only thumbs) in their backsides when the clamour for 3G licenses was over and instead of providing content and data intensive must have apps., they decided to screw customers by charging per Kilobyte on WAP. IMAGINE that greed!

    They just want to screw you for every penny (kilobyte & NOT MB) instead of upgrading their network and facilitating this onward push.

    Build and they will come is the moto applied by S.Korea, Sweden, Norway and elsewhere.

    Its the reverse here. Entice them and give them a sucker punch!

    And when the going gets tough, go moaning to the government and Ofcom for relief, since they cant make enough money!

    Ripoff Britain? Understatement of the decade!

    Paris, cos I dont mind her suckerpunch!

  8. Joel Stobart

    Insider trading?

    This all seems a little too convenient....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      No, just first one to blink

      It's the same with energy utilities. One of them breaks cover and changes their prices and all the rest follow, safe in the knowledge that entire market will stabilise around the new price.

      AC coz I've worked with both bunches of shysters

  9. paulf


    Something that comes to mind about this sudden mad rush to have hard limits for data and data charging is: How accurate will this be? and What layer will they measure at?

    I have an Android handset and use the (highly recommended) Data Counter widget to keep track of my data usage (500Mb/month fair usage limit and Voda now charge if I exceed). It does an excellent job, and the dev was brilliant in sorting out some bugs I found.

    Thing is that now its working well but in testing it always logs about 10% below what Voda bill me for. The figures from Data Counter were within ~1% of those logged by a another data counting app so the app isn't underestimating.

    Neither me or the Dev could figure this one out, and to be fair to him we put it down to the way his widget gets the data transfer counts from Android itself which at v1.5 could be reporting inaccurate values.

    I'm sure Voda will measure what ever will get them the most cash, so that would be 1kb=1000 bytes (SI) rather than 1kb=1024 bytes (IEC), and also measure it on OSI layer 1. But if the handset is reporting only layer 2 or 3 that makes it kinda hard to keep track of.

    Yes this could be a handset firmware issue in that its not reporting the data usage accurately to apps that request it, but if usage above a given limit now costs real money the networks need to be more transparent about how they're calculating the data usage, as otherwise its harder to check that the figures reported on my monthly bill are at least vaguely accurate!

  10. dz-015
    Thumb Down


    I wonder whether they're also going to dump their dodgy infrastructure and unbelievably appalling 'customer support'. I strongly suspect not.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      re: orange/dump

      I take it you know the infrastructure then? and therefore realise its the same "dodgy" infrastructure that some of other operators in the UK + around Europe use!?!

  11. Wayne

    Same as when all providers removed international SMSs

    This looks like the same collusion as when the mobile operators all removed international SMSs from their free texts in their bundles within a month of each other.

    Did they _really_ all just come up with this idea at the same time, or is there a back-room conversation happening to ensure that end users have no choice ?

    It feels like we're going backwards at exactly the wrong time. We had unlimited bandwidth when we couldn't run streaming apps in the background on our iPhones. Now that we will be able, the bandwidth required to do so goes away.


  12. Ben Rosenthal

    I hope they all get bent right over

    for price fixing

  13. jubtastic1

    This is actually a step forward

    It means we're past the stage where the Telco's thought they had so much bandwidth they just advertised it as unlimited. Now we're at the stage where they'll compete on bandwidth packages.

    It's just another step in the path towards dumb carrier status like the ISP's.

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