back to article Content producers should chip in for mobile internet costs

Consumer fees alone are not enough to pay for the infrastructure needed to deliver content to mobile phones, according to O2 chief executive Ronan Dunne, hinting at an erosion of the principle known as network neutrality. Dunne told a conference last week that content producers should be prepared to pay network operators for …


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  1. David Hicks

    Isn't it fair?

    No it bloody isn't!

    I pay you a fee for a number of GB a month, and I expect to get that delivered. If your infrastructure can't cope you have no right bitching about it and shouldn't have sold me the data allowance in the first place.

    Here's a hint, the BBC, Google et al, they all pay for their net access too. Everyone pays their provider for access to the net and they get just that, net access. That's how the internet works.

    If you can't afford to provide your customers with the bandwidth they want (and PAY FOR) then raise your prices and improve your infrastructure.

    This is nothing short of extortion.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title clamps

    This is utter crap. They want content producers (for transparencies sake, I'm an independent producer) to pay again and again to deliver the same data?

    Currently that data is being paid for in the current layout:

    Content producer pays their hosting solution.

    Hosting solution pays their connection provider.

    Backbones pay each other (usually in peering schemes of data for data, sometimes directly cash).

    Consumer pays their provider - usually the consumer ISP or, in this case, their mobile service provider.

    So that very same bit of data is being paid for several times over the journey from hosting solution to consumers device, yet they want to levy an additional charge on the backend for delivery to their mobile device?

    Fine, my solution to that would be to block their IP range and put up a referral page stating their provider is trying to extort money out of content producers in addition to charging the customer for their use.

    How about the novel approach of charging the user for the amount they consume? ISP's (mobile or static) cannot continue the practice of over subscribing their networks with below cost pricing in the hope that users won't actually use the service as advertised (hence all the fair use bull).

    It is they who have made a rod for their own backs, stop trying to extort (that is the correct term for this) money out of others when the blame is squarely with themselves.

  3. jake Silver badge

    It ain't exactly rocket science.

    Since time immemorial, I have payed for my end of the link.

    Links I have chosen to connect to have payed for theirs.

    Marketards who have tried to convince me to pay for their end of the link have been summarily ignored ... Seriously, kids, I don't exist to provide you a paycheck.

  4. JMB

    Content producers should chip in for mobile internet costs

    I don't see why someone like the BBC with its iPlayer should pay for someone using an expensive mode to access their content, the mobile networks sell their service to customers by telling them that they can access content like that from the Internet so they should charge a rate to cover their costs.

    I read someone moaning about one ISP capping him at hundreds of GB, if he wants to download so much then he should pay not the providers of the free content.

  5. Matt 21

    Missing the point?

    If they charge per MB then where the content comes from isn't an issue. I'm happy to pay for, let us say 20GB per month and then I can get whatever content I want up to 20GB, or I pay more.


    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simples.

      It appears that you have become exposed to the Daily Mail and it's mind sucking effects.

      Should symptoms worsen an God forbid, you feel the urge to use the phrase "Yoomun rites" please seek medical help immediately.

  6. KjetilS

    This is a title

    "Consumer fees alone are not enough to pay for the infrastructure needed to deliver content to mobile phones".

    In any other field of business, that means you have to either raise prices or do something about your costs. It's not the service providers fault that the network operators are incompetent.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It's not costs...

      it's their PROFITABILITY...they make more than enough money to cover their costs. O2's parent company has a gigantic newly built modern campus on the outskirts of Madrid that houses 10,000 employees - that is clearly not a business that is struggling for income.

      Message to the network operators - you're just dumb pipes. Get over it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And the problem is?

    He wants money for what? People pay for "unlimited" access and that's what they should get. If it isn't cost effective then don't offer it.

  8. Stewart Atkins


    Isn't the purpose of the fees TO pay for the cost of delivering the content? If the operators aren't charging enough then that's their problem.

  9. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down


    Did you set the prices too low to entice customers in and make promises you now cannot keep?

    So now you want others to dig you out by fronting up cash to pay the costs, well let me just take a look and see who else is providing services like yours!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Cry me a river

    Do the job you were paid to do and should have been continually doing (Upgrading the infrastructure to meet future demand) for the last 5 years at least.

    Everyone saw this coming.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Manufactured Crisis

      Reminds me of stories I keep hearing (US) where the state has refused/nedlected to upgrade a highway until it is absolutely jammed and backlogged all to hell (typically 5+ years after significant traffic problems started to surface) and they tell folks "[we *have* to turn this into a toll road or it will take us 10 more years to upgrade the road]" our freeways are turning to tollways, all because of our lazy ass DoT's can't be bothered with any of this, although I do find it odd that a job that takes our DoT's x-long to do can apparently, and quite readily be done in 3-4x less time by private companies. I guess if your choices are go work your ass off vs. sit on your ass with no consequences while someone else does your job for you, I'm not so sure I wouldn't opt for the latter either.

      Back on topic, this company deserves to go under. Your job is to provide voice/data network to your customers - it doesn't matter what they use it for. Hell, the cable companies in the US have to pay the content providers for their channels.

      1. thecakeis(not)alie


        No kidding. It's shocking how Canada can manage to keep our hiways in good repair despite being a large company with quite literally an order of magnitude less people to pay taxes.

        Must be because we are filthy liberal hippy pinko commie terrorist scum who believe in socialism like health care, education and public infrastructure. Damn, I knew that not signing our souls over to the corporations in exchange for being made into indentured servants would bite us in the ass one day!

        Or, er…waitaminute….

  11. adnim

    Swings and roundabouts

    "Telecoms companies have raised the idea as a response to the increasingly bandwith-heavy material that consumers are using. They believe that companies which profit from this material should share the cost of delivering it."

    Does this include the telco's themselves? After all don't they profit from the content they deliver from content providers?

    Seems to me the consumer pays for access based on both speed of delivery and amount of data delivered. So they actually get less content from bandwidth-heavy content providers than bandwidth-light content providers for their particular pay plan.

    How would the telco's feel if content providers wanted to charge the telco's themselves to deliver that content? For without content to deliver the telcos would not be able to provide and charge for that delivery.

    Most demand for bandwidth has been driven by social networking. Smartphones are often sold on the ability to easily access such things as Twitter, Facebook, streaming video servces et al. Would the demand for Internet access on mobiles be so great without social networking and such bandwidth-heavy services? Probably not. So without these services the telco's would have less to sell. Consumers don't see bandwidth, they see product. To the consumer telco's are not selling bandwidth they are selling access to another parties product, and without that product they would have nothing to sell.

    I guess Telco's must be operating at a loss for them to want content providers to pay for delivery as well as the consumer.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    No No No No......

    Charge your bloody customers. If your business plan relies on getting subsidies from others to make your profits* by cutting your fees,theyby making you look bette value than you are, then you deserve to crash and burn.

    If the customer wants to download huge fat files, then they should pay. If the customer then realises that the company delivering these files are costing them to much, they will leave the site, therefore, will have to adapt or die.


  13. Flugal

    Oh dear

    My heart bleeds for O2, it really does...

    For new customers they already charge users more who go over their mobile data allowance, so get more revenue from higher users anyway. Even for people like me who are on a contract without a data limit have a "fair useage" policy to abide by.

    Sounds like they want to get more money for increased mobile data useage from both ends, the consumber AND the provider.

  14. paulf

    letters and digits cannot take your subject right now - please hold

    This has been said before but worth saying again.

    When I pay for internet service and my download cap is x Gb/month then I expect the network I'm using to be able to deliver x Gb of data per month regardless of whether I "spend" that monthly allowance on a million large emails, or 1 viewing of a program on iPlayer.

    Moving from the BS of "Unlimited" internet to download caps was supposed to solve the problem of bandwidth intensive users by setting a limit to how much they could download for their monthly fee. Who cares what they download? Streaming (in the example above) needs lower latency than emails and there is probably higher demand at peak times (e.g. evenings) but that's up to network providers to use innovative pricing to get people downloading iPlayer programs at night when the network is quieter.

    I can appreciate the point about content providers being more efficient in their network use if they're paying towards it, but I don't agree since this is already covered by the download cap. If the BBC want to deliver a one hour HD iPlayer program that will suck 10 Gb of my 50 Gb monthly limit then I'm not going to watch it, while also complaining bitterly to the Beeb about their bloated HD download size.

    But really what this is about is O2 bitching in public about their paying subscribers wanting to use the services they've paid for. Perhaps they should get on with the network investment backlog that seems to date back beyond the BT Cellnet days!

  15. HighlightAll

    Not that old chestnut

    Get out of the bit delivery business if you don't enjoy it.

  16. Richard 51

    Don't the content producers pay to be connected to the internet?

    I am sorry, they themselves are fueling the increase by pushing ever more sophisticated handsets, I don't remember O2 saying when I bought my Iphone please don't use it for mobile internet.

    This idea that content producers don't pay for their content to be hosted or transmitted over the internet is crazy, of course they do... so why would they pay twice?

    Stop whinging O2 and stop stealing the money from our pockets, I don't remember you reporting losses. The AT&T of UK

  17. Dan 55 Silver badge

    He's just repeating Telefonica's line

    They've been banging on about this in Spain for some months too.

    Should've invested in their network instead of just charging for iPhones and using the money to go on a spending spree in Latin America and Portgual.

  18. Ian Yates

    Crocodile tears

    "*wahhh!* Our business model isn't produce huge profits. The BBC should be paying us for iPlayer usage. Blah, blah, blah."


  19. Mage Silver badge

    Mobile speak with Forked Tongue

    The content providers already pay for their pipe

    The voice customers are already massively subsiding Data.

    Why don't they simply price it per Gigabyte used based on cost and add a normal margin?

    Or are they more interested in growing customer base and want everyone else to subsidise this?

    See how the subsidised prices are wrecking Ireland's Infrastructure:

    and as mentioned earlier here 3's voice subsidy of Data

    Don't listen to ANYTHING mobile operators say.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Deja vu ?

    Didn't we have this argument when the iPlayer was launched ? ISPs started whining because all of a sudden their "unlimited" plans were shown up to be anything but.

    I'm probably a bit thick, but my understanding of business, is that "profits" are what are left *after* investments. So if O2, Vodaphone et al can post huge profits, then there is clearly scope for a bit of investment in the infrastructure of what they are supposed to be fucking doing in the first place ?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Ugh FFS

    Content producers already pay their contribution towards infrastructure costs - they pay for their own infrastructure including for their own peering/transit and often for their own international links/links between facilities. Sorry O2 but if you're not making money on it, that's a failure in your own business model.

  22. Was Steve

    I'm happy to pay for a high quality service

    (And I know someone will come along and call me a paytard, bet...) Why aren't the mobile companies innovating? I'd be happy to pay a decent price (and I mean more than £5-£10 a month) for a fast, high quality broadband service (mobile and/or fixed) without restrictions.

    The problem is that the telco's seem to be beholden to the marketeers who only measure against getting stuff out for the lowest price poissible.

    Remember kids, you get what you pay for.

  23. xj25vm


    Or in other words: "we want more of the action". News flash for you - the content creators *do* pay for delivery. They don't get free data pipes to their own upstream providers.

    What the mobile industry really wants is more dough. More profits. If they deserve it or not - well, that is not exactly relevant to them.

    Does the Royal Mail or any other parcel/letter delivery company get a percentage of whatever profits are derived from it being used to distribute letters or parcels or other materials? Does it get a share of the profits of the likes of Amazon? No it doesn't. It gets paid for the work it does. Nothing else.

    Mobile networks are dumb data pipes - and should get paid just for that - for delivering data. Stop trying to stick your snout in other people's troughs. You have creamed the market enough by charging ridiculous amounts of money for tiny text messages and delivering "exclusive" useless content - which now can be had directly from the Internet, for the mere cost of the data connection.

  24. Jon Press
    Thumb Up

    Quite right too...

    And those light-bulb producers should be contributing to the cost of the electricity they're making me burn.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    How about putting back the MONEY that consumers PAY YOU to use your crappy network into actually making it WORK?

  26. thomas k.
    Thumb Down

    Is the problem bandwidth hogs or capitalist pigs?

    Sprint (for example) is running ads here in the States touting the ease and enjoyment of downloading movies to your shiny new Samsung handset over their 4G network.

    I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they're complaining about how a small number of users is consuming a disproportionate amount of bandwidth, causing network congestion, blah blah blah, and how, with much regret, they're being forced to abandon the unlimited plans in favor of tiered pricing.

  27. BeachBoy

    Flawed Business model

    Another ISP moaning about their flawed "sell it cheaper than their competitors" business model. When will these guys realise that consumers will pay more to get more quality.

    The supermarkets do this quite happily (Tesco's have a value range, the standard range and a premium range). People are happy to pay extra for extra services/quality

  28. James Thomas

    No this again

    The BBC and other video producers have already faught this battle once, and they aren't going to lose this time ether.

    If you sold something you know can't afford to provide, tough titty. Fire your marketard department, they're the idiots who got you into the mess to begin with.

  29. Anonymous Coward


    "Dunne said that the problem facing mobile network operators was that they were investing billions of pounds in infrastructure to cope with a massive increase in data use, while facing a very price-competitive market."

    Er, that's the network operators' business. If they can't make money out of that, they should hand in their licences and let someone else have a go.

    In just about every other part of the economy, we've decided that cross-subsidy is generally a wrong-headed idea: it rewards bad behaviour.

  30. JaitcH

    Sounds fair but the devil is in the detail.

    It's a bit like road taxes, trucks pay more.

    But there again, the biggies in the media transmission do pay the freight. Imagine just how much governments load the system with, do they pay the full rate?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Bad analogy

      Trucks pay more because they are responsible for nearly all the wear on the roads. It's axle weight, not gross weight which does the damage. Per kilo a car does much, much less to the road and doesn't cause vibration damage to buildings. On the other hand, big files don't wear out the infrastructure tubules more than millions of small files - per byte they are just the same.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @JaitcH - wrong

    No. It's like asking Ford, Vauxhall etc to pay for the roads their cars use.

  32. FoolD

    Promise only what you can deliver

    >> If consumers alone are paying for the data there is no incentive on content providers to use networks efficiently

    That would depend how much you charge to provide for the bandwidth to download that content.

    If your pricing is fixed fee for "unlimited" data then no - there is no incentive. If however you charge per Mb or have a reasonably capped limit then there is an incentive - users won't use content providers that cost them a fortune or use up all their cap inefficiently.

    That aside if, like all internet providers should, O2 ploughed more of the profits back into the infrastructure this wouldn't be such an issue. If that isn't feasible then they should market their bandwidth & charge their customers appropriately for the network capabilities.

  33. Lottie


    Bah I say!

    Can you imagine if every small podcats creator had to pay whenever their content was downloaded? They already pay for hosting etc.

    I *would* get my violin and play a sad song, but I can't afford to send it to O2

  34. Nigel R Silver badge


    Eerrm... It's like asking Ford, Vauxhall etc asking US to pay THEM for the roads our cars use.

  35. plrndl

    Wakey wakey

    When will these morons realise that the consumer is not buying bandwidth for its own sake, but for access to content. Without the content, the service suppliers would have no market whatsoever.

    If they're stupid enough to offer "unlimited" bandwidth contracts, without realising that someone would try to fill it for their own advantage, they are not fit to be employed in business, and should be sweeping the streets or some such.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title goes here

    "From the UK consumer point of view, you have a real choice of providers and can switch if they’re not delivering the experience you want in the way you want it."

    nnyees, moved from utterly crap o2 to pretty poor three. As noted by others above, I pay for 3 gig/month, kindly send same down your tubes. Preferably at faster then dial up rates. At any rate before the end of the month.

  37. John 62
    Thumb Up

    too many good posts

    I was going to vote up all the posts saying that ISPs should be able to deliver what they advertise, but there are too many, so I wrote this instead.

    Plus, I have an 'unlimited' data contract on O2. Why can't I use tethering without paying more? Oh right, maybe it's not unlimited. Bawh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      title clamps

      I asked O2, in the wake of them bringing back metered internet on their mobiles, whether they'd be dropping the £10 *monthly* fee for tethering since their argument over PC's using data more intensively is null and void.

      The answer: No, the fee stays.

      When I finally secure a regular income, O2 have lost me. I'll be buying my next phone outright and putting a sim of my choosing into it.

  38. thecakeis(not)alie

    Dear entire telecommunications industry,



    The entire bloody world.

  39. Drefsab

    meh a title

    This is just one of the many reasons why I dropped O2 and I will drop any company that tries this kind of stuff. I pay for access to the internet not a limited subset that you like or pays what in my eyes amounts to a bribe.

    I already paying for a set amount of GB per month (lets not get onto the fact that set amount is advertised as unlimited, the maximum allowed in the AUP is the actual limit and what I go off). I expect to be able to use that many GB each month on anything on the internet if I choose to.

    1GB of data is the same amount of data no matter where it comes from, no matter if its Iplayer or downloads from and app store. It still the same amount of bytes from the internet.

    Add to that that the content providers already are paying for their upstream and thus paying for their content. As a customer my fee's are paying for the delivery of that content, if your undercharging then that's your own fault and your own flawed business model.

    If you sell something at a price less than it costs to provide then you will loose money, many ISP's have gone bust for the same reason's. Ether increase your prices, cross subsidise from your other product's or crash and burn, ether option is fine by me, but trying to bribe content provides is just not acceptable.

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