back to article Mobile carriers keep the promised land on an ever-receding horizon

Upon taking delivery of a new iPhone last month, my mobile carrier informed me that as a special gift, the data fairies had granted me an additional 25 GB of mobile data. The catch: I had to use all of it within 30 days. That has turned out to be a good thing. If the offer had been spread out over the 24 months of my contract …

  1. Hud Dunlap

    It still has to have speed

    I have unlimited data on my iPhone and LTE connections. it is still slow. At 2am I might get some decent speeds but during the day it can take over a minute to download a standard web page.

    1. lnLog

      I feel for you

      You need to get the likes of Three over there, I have a sub £8 / month SIM contract to which you add a £5 top up for unlimited data, and because if you use an android phone with an android tablet, the carrier cant tell the difference so you don't need to pay for tethering. Depending on location, speeds on HSDPA generally in region of 2.5MB/s up and down.

      1. Samuel Penn

        Re: I feel for you

        Also on Three, with their £18/month One Plan. Unlimited data with tethering. My normal usage tends to be 3GB-5GB/month, so I'd actually be happy with a 10GB cap. There are cheaper options, but Three also have free international roaming (to some countries, including the US) which is useful to me.

        1. I like noodles

          Re: I feel for you

          Another three-ite, a year and a half ago I lay in a hospital bed for a week and burnt up 8.5gb watching TV on my phone. Kept me sane, and not a penny extra.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: I feel for you

          "Unlimited data with tethering. "

          Assuming you can get a signal :-/

          I can't at work, nor for most of my commute.

      2. ElNumbre

        Re: I feel for you

        I also have Three with unlimited data.

        The only kick in the teeth is I get great speed everywhere, except in my office (where Id actually quite like to use the bandwidth) which varies between 60 Kbps and 400 Kbps. This means that emails, tw@ts and facebork alerts trickle down, but there is no iPlayer TV streaming for me. I can just about use the iPlayer radio if the wind is blowing in the right direction that day.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It still has to have speed

      At least you don't have Orange 3G.

      I envy you for being able to download a web page in one minute.

      Is this why they keep pestering me to buy into 4G? Love to but its not available here. Suppose I drive for an hour and a half and visit somewhere that does.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. P. Lee


    My sister-in-law has an optus wireless internet thing. She can barely keep a connection up, never mind download lots. This is in suburban Melbourne. Skype lasts a couple of minutes before dropping out.

    My guess is a lack of towers and perhaps the Australian penchant for corrugated steel roofs.

    I don't think data for information is much of an issue. The big hog is video, which is mostly unnecerssary and not that great on a mobile screen.

    It doesn't matter too much - cables are better.

  4. dotdavid

    Create a 4G WiFi hotspot so I can work anywhere? Please!

    Unfortunately tethering is not included in your data usage allowance, as per the terms of your contract. You will be charged £21/MByte for tethering data usage. Thank you for your custom.

  5. Denarius Silver badge

    Stop that naughty imagining !

    Our beloved telcos might not be able to persuade us to buy their low cost low bit rate smoke signals if you keep that up ! Don't you understand mobile phones are not for ordinary people? Only PR flacks, bribed politicians and mining moguls need them. The rest back to the coal mines, right now.

    How I would love even a 3G connection that equalled my old 56K dialup modem. Nationalise the telcos infrastructure using the money from the superannuation of the fat fools who sold it off so cheaply. How else can the spooks spy on all and sundry if the network chokes every time they remotely turn on the mikes and cameras ? maybe that is already the root cause of the crap speed on the backbones.

  6. Andy Watt

    Perhaps one slight fly in the ointment... shared bandwidth?

    OK, we all get unlimited data. Now we're all trying to use it, resulting in longer sessions and a demand for higher speeds.

    Result? Network slows to a crawl. Urban areas require huge numbers of microcells just to keep people online as cell sizes shrink under the load (breathing). Overall experience worsens. There's only so much you can squeeze into a shared RF resource before it buckles under the load.

    There are more reasons for the data cap than their profits. Think about it.

    1. HMB

      Re: Perhaps one slight fly in the ointment... shared bandwidth?

      That's true to a point Andy Watt, but it's never really made my unlimited service unusable. Sure, at peak times 2 years ago, I had problems tethering for streaming video, but even then browsing and streaming music worked quite well.

      If you open an all you can eat restaurant, people don't seem to eat until they die, just because they can. Sure, they eat more, but nothing that can't be accommodated. I think unlimited mobile data is a similar thing. Sure, occasionally I gorge myself on data, but more often than not, I have pretty normal usage patterns but without any worries about bill shock. I have no worries about data usage and I wouldn't want to go back to having them.

  7. Kubla Cant

    I should be so lucky

    25GB? I have a data allowance of 0.5GB. I mostly use my phone for data. But I still can't use the massive 0.5GB in a month. With the crap data rate I get I couldn't use 25GB in a month of continuous downloads.

    1. Omgwtfbbqtime

      Re: I should be so lucky

      I burn through 2-3GB a month with VM with unlimited data for £15.

      though with a Galaxy Ace Plus I'm not sure it's worth it - roll on contract renewal time.

  8. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Thank goodness for unlimited

    Thank goodness for my grandfathered unlimited plan ($30/month unlimited data, including 4G LTE). Current US pricing is downright predatory -- the carriers that don't offer unlimited will with a straight face sell you 2GB for $30, with $10/GB overages. Oh, but you can't just get that -- it's force-bundled with *at least* $50/month of voice and text services (no option to buy very little voice or text or none at all.) You want shared data? Suddenly that minimum data price is even higher, and even higher overage know, just because they can.

    1. ckm5

      Re: Thank goodness for unlimited

      Hmm, I have unlimited data, voice & text for $50/month. My cell phone costs actually dropped by about 25% after I got a new iPhone 6 because of all the promotions. And I don't have a contract.

  9. ammabamma

    This reminds me of something...

    > I can still dimly sense the limitations that will reassert themselves when this boon expires. It's a taste of freedom, with no time to savour it.

    Reminds me of a saying I heard somewhere (paraphrasing):

    "The most intense torment can be had by giving someone a taste of joyous freedom before binding them in chains and casting them into utter darkness where their physical pain and suffering is further compounded by the agony of knowing what they almost had."

  10. Tim Brown 1

    N95 arguably the first smartphone?

    You really need to brush up on your phone history if you think the N95 was anywhere near the first smartphone.

    The Nokia N95 was unveiled on September 26, 2006, meanwhile the Palm Treo 180, a GSM phone that had a touchscreen (admittedly only monochrome), could do email, had an internet browser etc, was released in 2002.

    Also the Japanese had a more limited form of smartphone as early as 1999.

    1. ckm5

      Re: N95 arguably the first smartphone?

      I had a string of Palm-based smartphones from Kyocera, Samsung & Palm years before Nokia released anything looking even remotely like a smartphone. Never mind Compaq's Ipaq phones, which existed even before then and were among the first smartphones built around an ARM core.

      IRC, I got my first smartphone circa 2001. It was a Palm-based Kyocera 6035 with a dialpad that flipped up over the screen. Used that phone for years, it was a great phone. That was released six years before the N95.... Still have it around somewhere, along with my SO's Samsung i500 Palm phone (also way before the N95)

      And Ericsson introduced a smartphone in 1999, the R380 (which actually is possibly the first smartphone, at least the first thing labeled as such). They also made the P800, a phone I lusted after, with Sony in 2001.

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