Feeds

GiffGaff boots freetards off mobile network

Punters sick of top 1pc slurping third of all traffic

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

People-powered mobile phone network GiffGaff is debating how best to curb excessive data use, while kicking off a few customers considered to be really taking the biscuit.

GiffGaff has always offered unlimited data with its "goody-bag" tariffs, which start at a tenner a month, and unlike competing networks it has never imposed any kind of cap or fair-use limit. But in December it changed its terms and conditions to allow disconnection of heavy data users, and has now started applying those new rules.

In common with just about every ISP in history GiffGaff has discovered that a tiny proportion of users are eating a disproportionate amount of data. In GiffGaff's case it's one per cent of the customers accounting for more than a third of the data traffic, with all the other customers subsidising the cost of carrying that data.

GiffGaff is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) carried by O2, and therefore has to pay O2 for every byte carried (GiffGaff is owned by O2 too, but operates as a separate business). But while most ISPs face customer ire for trying to impose caps on data, if only to restrain the minority, GiffGaff seems to have recruited the majority to back its plans and even discuss how they should evolve.

The company's discussion boards are alive with calls for the one per cent to be named and shamed, though that's probably somewhere between 500 and 1000 people so not that shameful a list on which to appear. Other posters are claiming that consuming that much data is impossible without tethering (attaching a laptop) which is against the terms and conditions anyway, and as such the one per cent should just be kicked off the network indefinitely.

But connect a smartphone to a TV, then stream an evening or two of HD iPlayer*, and you'll consume as much data as any tethered web surfer - the days when one needed a laptop to breach fair-use caps are long past.

So while some of those posting are just venting their anger, others are discussing the best way to approach the problem in future. GiffGaff styles itself as the "people's network" in listening to customer suggestions, and it's certainly interesting to read what GiffGaff users are coming up with.

Suggestions include throttling the speed as usage increases (technically difficult) to banning them from ever using GiffGaff again, with every poster charmingly convinced that they themselves could never form part of the disruptive one per cent. This is despite the fact that GiffGaff won't say how much data that one percent is consuming.

Those who are in that minority are getting their data connectivity pulled, some claiming without warning. When they enquire of the support desk, disconnected users are told they can have one more chance - but push the (unpublished) limits again and "we will permanently remove your Internet access with no exceptions". ®

Bootnote

* Yes, iPlayer HD isn't really HD, they're not even calling it that these days, but it still eats a lot of bandwidth.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?