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O2 blamed for iPhone's data sucking

Floods users with requests for money

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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 failed to tell their iPhones that data now came at a premium.

"Just to clarify data roaming is turned off, 3g is turned off, location services is turned off, therefore I will only be charged for calls and texts," one frustrated customer says.

"I can't understand where that money has disappeared to and while all this is happening," another grumbles.

More technically literate readers will have noticed that while roaming and 3G were turned off the iPhone 3G has no setting to switch off cellular data, so by switching off "3G" the user was just ensuring that updates arrived more slowly (over the 2G network). That got fixed with the iPhone 4, which can switch off all cellular data, but at the cost of making things more complicated.

For the first few years iPhones had to be connected on an iPhone tariff, ensuring that simplicity was maintained - Apple has never been about offering choice, but about keeping things simple. Unfortunately that was never going to last in such a competitive market.

Not that O2 is helping much - users who run out of data allowance (or credit) get bombarded with text messages telling them so, with some reporting that the messages continue even after they've topped up their balance.

We've asked O2 about that, but have not heard back as yet.

Earlier this week some O2 users started getting text messages suggesting they switch to a Wi-Fi connection which can offer them "a better connection and a faster speed". It's also (generally) a cheaper option, but you have to remember to tell your iPhone about it. ®

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