back to article O2 blamed for iPhone's data sucking

O2's Pay & Go customers are up in arms as the iPhone's simplicity and capability sees unwitting users' credit disappear into O2's hands. The users are those on O2's Text & Web tariff, which provides customers with 500MB of data as long as they topped up with at least a tenner the previous month. But some of them didn't, and …


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  1. Sampler

    O2 Data network's crap anyway

    And their call isn't much better, just left their simplicity pre-pay after just a month - even loosing £17 worth of credit as it was just that poor. Was on t-mobile before it and Vodafone now and they're both far better in call and data.

    At least by my anecdotal, small area sample set.

    Don't know much about Orange, had a bad experience with them a few years back and not going to touch them, one of the reasons I've left t-mobile too.

    O2 used to have a decent network back when I had a contract phone with them, but then that was before iphones too which have probably saturated the network - either than or pay as you go customers just get a dialed down shitter service, which is possible as they have different settings to contract customers for data connections (who also have different settings to iphone users) so they should be able to tailor the service based on customer profile.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: O2 Data network's crap anyway

      I don't know which O2 network you're on but it's a different one from me.

      I've never lost a call using O2. When I was on holiday in the highlands, my friends (who are not on O2) had no reception. I had 4 bars.

      That was using a pay-as-you-go phone. I've now got one that is on a contract and can access the internet and still no problems - better signal than many of my friends and as a result, faster - except the ones on O2...

      Might be different in other parts of the country, I don't know.

      1. ColonelClaw

        O2 were hopeless for me

        I was in the same boat as Sampler when with O2. My office is in Westminster which is pretty much the centre of London. Not once whilst on O2 did I ever have a 3G signal sitting at my desk. Quite often the entire cellular signal would drop leaving me with effectively an iPod Touch. All my work mates on other networks (my office is about 50% iPhones) had 3G all over the office. Last week I grabbed myself the new iPhone and took the opportunity to switch to Orange, and it feels like a bit of a revelation - I now have 3G at my desk and a signal everywhere, even in the server room. Other key places I could rarely get a 3G signal on O2 were in my flat (near Oval, that's pretty central) and my local pub (including the outdoor beer garden). So that's basically where I spend most of my life.

        Consequently I came to the decision that for me O2 were bloody useless, and this has been borne out by the fact I now get 3G at all 3 of the above locations.

        I'm sure other people's mileage my vary, but that I personally couldn't get a decent data connection slap bang in the middle of the largest city in the UK always struck me as kinda crap.

  2. jameshopkins

    Not entirely accurate article

    Information is entirely accurate, I have an iPhone 3G, and iOS 4 gives you the ability to turn on/off cellular data and data roaming independently. Obviously iOS 4 takes away a few things i.e. speed!

    1. Hedley Phillips


      There are options in Settings - General - Network to turn off:


      Cellular Data

      Data Roaming

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Not entirely accurate article

      "Obviously iOS 4 takes away a few things i.e. speed!"

      Hasn't taken any speed away from me...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Turning off the.....

      ....background spotlight search stuff apparently makes things somewhat better......

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    In related news

    My car appears to be low on fuel, when I only filled it up three weeks ago. The fact that I may have driven 1000 in that time doesn't make a difference. Fuel should be unlimited, free and always there whenever I want to use it.

    If you're using data, consider the fact that it costs money to provide you with that functionality and therefore you will need to pay for it.

    Or, as HRH Jobs would put it:

    >Just pay. Simple.


    >Sent from my iPhone

    1. Hmpty McNumpty

      Yada Yada

      It's all to easy to forget that that these phones suck data even when you are not using them, I certainly did. My issue is not with the £3 that went poof, but the 3000 times I've had to tap dismiss! Can't understand how you'd burn through £90 as described in the forums tho', if you need to top-up your prepay that much, you need a contract.

      And yes as another has posted, iOS4 gives all compatible iPhones the Cellular data switch (was it really not there before?).

      Also the message is NOT a text message, it doesn't appear in your inbox, I believe its a WAP Push.

    2. Lionel Baden

      not the point

      They are complaining about the fact they turn off the engine yet it still consumes Fuel ....

      Im still smiling :D

    3. Neill Mitchell

      Whey hey!

      The inevitable and invalid car analogy within the first 3 posts!

      One every time.

      1. Lionel Baden


        Hey my anology worked !!!!

  4. Lamont Cranston

    iPhones not suited to PAYG?

    Ha, ha and, indeed, ha.

    1. Hmpty McNumpty

      People who have contracts are idiots who want to say "My phone was free"

      Don't be bloody silly, smart phones are perfectly @ home on PAYG tariffs from every provider, I've just gone and looked, and indeed ordered SIM's from all of them. In most cases you do need to add some kind of data package if you want more than FriendFace access, but in all cases its a damn sight cheaper than the £25+/month a contract would entail. As one of those people who has no idea how normal 9-5 working people justify this kind of expenditure on something they did just fine without 10 years ago, PAYG is the only option that makes any sense. The problem here seems to be what O2 is charging when you don't have the tariff or bolt-on activated that gives you some data, it's downright evil. By contrast T-Mobile is £1/day or £20 for 6 months (40mb a day, plenty if you aren't a youtube addict), three is 30p/meg if you haven't topped up in the last 90days or have used more than 150Mb, Virgin is 30p/day for 25Mb etc. O2 has no such scheme in place so if you screw up your bolt-ons/ top-up 2 days late etc, you get screwed.

  5. Hmpty McNumpty
    Jobs Horns

    WAP Push Bombardment

    Yup, I have this issue. Last week my Web & Wifi bolt-on expired and I felt no urge to top up right away as like many people I mostly use my home and work WiFi. Overnight £3 of my balance vanished, presumably used by Push Technology?

    The WAP Message came up every 20seconds or so and continued for 12 hours or so after the Web and Wifi bolt-on was restored. After the suggested reboots, resets etc mooted on the interwebs, these have reduced in number, but one week on they still sporadically appear, especially @ work in Deepest darkest Mid-Wales where there is no 3G network.

    My solution is to give O2 another £15 to unlock the phone and leave their crumby network, hopefully to Three, who give you a perfectly acceptable 150Mb whenever you top-up £5, which is frankly plenty for finding the nearest KFC and checking the weather ;).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    £10 a month and they want unlimited internet! I despair!

    Oh and you can switch of Cellular data on 3GS, I did it last week when I was abroad!

    1. Pandy06269

      Of course you did

      Yes you can turn of ROAMING cellular data on the 3GS (i.e. when you're not on your home network - i.e. abroad) but you cannot turn of cellular data completely on your home network.

      I've just checked on my Android-powered HTC Magic, and the only way I can completely disable data is to delete all the APN details - like the 3GS, I can turn off data while roaming.

  7. JaitcH
    Jobs Horns

    Not a problem for Fanbois

    The purchasers of Lemon 4 have demonstrated they are gullible and are happy with defective Lemons and second rate service so the carriers are simply taking advantage of their purchasing habits

  8. launcap Silver badge

    It's not just pasg that sucks on O2

    One of the major factors in going to Vodabunny for my shiny new iPhone4 was that I consistently was unable to get any sort of data connection on O2 with my old iPhone 3g (which works fine on my work vf SIM..)

    It's a real novelty to have data connection happen immediately instead of having to retry three or four times like I used to on O2.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Topped up £10, gone within a day, only made 1 phone call and sent 1 text. Topped up next day another £10, yet again gone within the day. I'm on iPhone 3G with iOS 3 - not going to 4 if reports of it being that slow.

    Moved over the Tesco Mobile (which is I believe an MVNO for O2) and am now paying only £15 a month (includes unlimited data - although I think unlimited actually means max of 500mb). Seems fine so far, though not sure why it should take 3 days to transfer my mobile number considering they are basically the same network.

    Also got the wap push messages. Made the phone unusable. Had to put it on silent so pretty sure that I've worn out vibrate on the phone now!!!. Must have had hundreds of those messages, which is why I left.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      O2 is a data/credit THIEF/Robber

      The same happened to me lost £10 in a day and after numerous calls to O2 pay&go service all they had to say was u must have used it on internet. I had even deliberately deleted all O2 data settings just for this reason. No refunds whatsoever, so took PAC code to move to Vodafone now.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another scuff

    against the apple sheen.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo


    "Apple has never been about offering choice, but about keeping things simple"

    This wasn't about choice - Apple negotiated for the original carriers of the iPhone to provide unlimited data - so there was never a need to be able to turn off cellular data. With the launch of SIM free iPhone 4 came this need and so this feature was added.

  12. Buzzby

    No 3G

    Where I live 3G has not worked for at least 3 years. To get service I uase 2G settings.

    I had been making a fuss for some 3 - 4 years now to O2. It's still not fixed!

  13. Random Noise

    O2 Messages

    I recently moved from O2 to T-Mobile to get a Desire (had nothing against O2, but given that I was a loyal customer of several years the fact that they wouldnt even match the deal T-Mob were offering made me leave)

    I still keep getting annoying O2 marketing messages despite several calls to customer service to inform them that I am no longer an O2 customer and do not want to receive thier texts.

    Annoyingly the 'Text STOP to xxxx' doesnt even work as I'm not on their network anymore.

    At least these are just text messages I can ignore, but I can undertand how hacked off people must be from getting silly network info messages popping up every 2 mins.

    Thumb Down

    o2 blamed

    simplist solution get rid of your iphone end of and get a better phone like the galaxy s or xt720 or somthing like that iphone sucks its probably proan to hackers

  15. Tim J

    @Hmpty McNumpty

    I suggest you keep your £5 rather than giving it to Three as a top-up if all you're going to do is find where the nearest KFC is - you could, y'know, put it towards providing yourself with some proper food instead...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fools and money

    Soon parted, they are

  17. Alan Denman

    Going abroad ?


    Placing phone on ground and do a Basil Fawlty impersonation.

    Data free every time.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    kids: don't do titles

    O2 data sucks in middle of Sheffield, Three almost tolerable.

  19. {-}ENERGiZER BUNNY{+}

    Wow..this is criminal....O2 needs to fix this or it will lose loads of customers

    This is daylight robbery, I experienced the very same issue with WAP message bombardment asking me to top-up, the funny thing was, that's how I found out that they took all my money.

    For those of you saying switch off data settings, roaming, 3g etc. This was already done, yet it didn't stop O2 from sucking out all my credit. I hope all effected customers contact ofcom regarding this scam, I certainly will.


    anonymous coward says_

    "My car appears to be low on fuel, when I only filled it up three weeks ago. The fact that I may have driven 1000 in that time doesn't make a difference. Fuel should be unlimited, free and always there whenever I want to use it."

    The fact is these people DID NOT drive 1000 (miles), therefore the fuel should be still there...right? (I really hope you don't work for O2).


    Hmpty McNumpty says_

    "It's all to easy to forget that that these phones suck data even when you are not using them, I certainly did. My issue is not with the £3 that went poof, but the 3000 times I've had to tap dismiss! Can't understand how you'd burn through £90 as described in the forums tho', if you need to top-up your prepay that much, you need a contract."

    These customers lost upto £90, I am sure they would have thought nothing of it, had it only been £3. The WAP messages are a constant distraction as you've noticed, customers are not burning through £90 intentionally, the money is being deducted from their account WITHOUT their knowledge, hence it is STEALING.

  20. Lajos


    This is not completly corret. In the iPhone OS you couldn't turn off the cellular data. But you didn't have to because there was the unlimited plan.

    Now they scrapped the unlimited dataplan, but you have the choise with iOS 4.0 to turn off the cellular data.

    Settings -> general ->network -> cellural data off

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Web Bolt-on - Eror 404 Bolt-on not found

    I'm on O2 PAYG but no iPhone, but I've been trying to add the web bolt-on (500mb for £7.50) for days and I keep getting a text saying it will be added but to have £7.50 credit for it and wait 48 hours and the bolt-on never appears, so I'm paying £3 per MB ... thanks O2 (!)

    I'm wondering if other O2 PAYG people on here may have tried to add bolt-on instead of topping up and got burnt? (i.e. no sign of the bolt-on appearing in 48 hours and paying £3 per MB instead)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Random Noise .... O2 messages

    Contact your current provider about getting those messages blocked. Its spam, pure and simple.

  23. Callum

    android too

    not just the iPhone: my wife's Android phone with an o2 PAYG lost £90 in 3 weeks (very few calls and only 20 txts) due to "falling off" the free web tarriff. She only used Wifi but some of the OS and apps drip data onto the 2G network whilst out on the move and this burned up the credit at £3 a time before we realised that you have to opt in the Simplicity WEB N TEXT"

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