UK iPhone customers to get fairer usage
But some usage is more fair than others
O2 has decided that iPhone users on its network won't be limited by their "fair usage" policy, and really will get "unlimited" access to the internet. But other customers signed up for "unlimited" contracts will have to wait and see if O2 decides all their usage is fair too.
UK punters signing up for an iPhone, exclusively on O2 from Friday, will be able to use the Edge network (where available) without having to worry about hitting the company's "fair use" limit.
O2 marketing director Sally Cowdry explains the firm's rethink:
We now appreciate that having set limits as part of the fair use policy conflicted with our objective of encouraging internet usage on the iPhone. People don't speak in megabytes and customer feedback has been that if we say unlimited, it should be unlimited.
But while O2 is keen to encourage iPhone users to use the internet, those opting for any other technology are stuck with the 200MB limit O2 imposes on the £7.50 a month flat rate data tariff, unless they want to shell out an extra £22.50 for Web Max, and even then they're limited to 3GB.
When we suggested this was a little unfair on those not seduced by Mr Jobs' toy, O2 told us it was "currently reviewing the fair use policies on our other unlimited data offerings".
The problem for O2 is that the only difference between "O2 Web" and "Web Max" is that fair use limitation. Remove that and anyone paying £30 a month for Web Max is going to look a fool.
It would, presumably, be possible to sign up for the iPhone tariff and then slip your SIM into an N95 or similar to enjoy truly unlimited access, though it's hard to say if that would give you 3G access as the iPhone has no use for such technology.
O2 should be applauded for offering a proper unlimited data tariff, but limiting it to the customers of one device isn't going to make things easier for customers to understand, or any fairer. ®
Okay, I am old and out of date. I just hate how the customer has been turned into being seen as nothing more than a potential mark. Someone to exploit based on slipping something over on them.
I tell my kids how Free used to mean without cost. Unlimited used to mean without limits.Today it means an opportunity to confuse and manipulate someone into paying for something they don't know about.
Phone plans are intentionally confusing. No one company sells the same amount of access as the other so a customer can compare apples to apples. The fine print is there to screw the customer, not to clarify the responsibilities of the seller.
A person should not require a spreadsheet, magnifying glass, dictionary and an appointment with a lawyer simply to prevent someone from being made a victim by supposedly honest businesses.
I am sorry, but I refuse to surrender myself to cynicism and sit back and say that this is all right and is a part of being a modern consumer society.
Like rebates, if the company wasn't banking on the chance that the victim, er, customer not getting the rebate for any reason, they would simply offer the item on sale.
Good luck people with your iPhone.
Anyone read the new O2 T&Cs yet...?
...cos there's more to worry about than the 200MB limit at first glance...
nip off to http://www.apple.com/uk/iphone/gettingstarted/activation_large.html and about 2/5ths through the presenter flashes through the Apple and presumably the old, still-to-be-revised O2 T&Cs.
Now, I appreciate that the legal team at O2 may be busy scribbling out the final paragraph where the 'fair use' thing is mentioned, but just above it is a list of other 'not permitted' uses.
As well as the usual one about VoIP, these include:
- Instant messaging (no iChat then, or whatever the equivalent of Communicator is on Apple - is even text-based IM out?)
- P2P file sharing (no-one in their right mind will set up a BitTorrent seeder or join a swarm, but does this include swapping ringtones etc between handsets?)
- Video and TV streaming (so no websites that retain the media file, such as news providers)
- Use in conjunction with routers. I know they mean that the iPhone cannot be the gateway to a router, in line with not unlocking the modem if plugged into a laptop, but this bit doesn't make a distinction between iPhone as gateway or iPhone as roaming client on, say, BT Openzone/FON. Isn't the iPhone supposed to switch to WiFi automatically when detected and use that in preference to EDGE? Or are O2 trying to screw 'excess use' charges out of people already since they device will do lots of data shuffling without their explicit say - so witness the huge bills for use outside of the country, for example?
Someone tell me they understand how this thing works - really - because the iPhone contract looks like it's a mildly tweaked version of everyone else's, which includes the operator desperately trying to protect it's voice/text revenue stream by knocking everything else mildly on the back of the head.
And non-iPhone 200MB from O2? Why does anyone stick with that when the same cash buys much more shackled 'unlimited' usage from other providers like T-Mobile?
It's been a long day so far...
Asbestos coat. Tin hat. Door.
Not all O2s fault
I don't think O2 can be blamed from calling their previous web packages 'unlimited'
Obviously most Reg readers would quickly notice the asterisk next to any unlimited package and read the entire T&C until they knew the exact limit.
If O2 had previously advertised it as a 200Mb limit most people would instinctively look for an "unlimited" package elsewhere, without even checking the true limit.
After all, its more logical to assume that a 200Mb limit is worse than an Unlimited* package, unless you're cynical.
I agree that nobody should use the term Unlimited unless it truely is. If I bought a Honda with an unlimited milage warranty thats exactly what I'd get!