O2 and mobile data - welcome to the thin straw
On the face of it looks like just deserts. The 2,000 O2 smartphone users presumptuous enough to hog a claimed 36 percent of the network’s data traffic will now have to pay a lot more.You could argue that the company was asking for trouble...
You could argue that the company was asking for trouble by having unlimited data plans in the first place, but these will now be wound down for current users as contract periods expire.
All new customers, including the terribly important iPhone users, will have to sign up for tariffs set at 500MB, 750Mb and 1GB per month. An Extra 1GB will cost £10.
So to punish what O2 now admits is only 0.1 percent of its mobile data user base, it is changing its whole charging structure. "97 percent of our smartphone users use less than 500MB per month, so they won't notice a difference," an O2 representative was quoted as saying to the Guardian.
Any user exceeding 1GB per month sounds rather indulgent but let’s put that number in context of a fixed broadband line and the limitations of the whole idea of mobile data start to be stripped bare. A heavy home user doing no file-sharing but browsing the web a lot could conceivably get to that number in not much more than a day. In the online world, a 20GB monthly allowance is considered almost entry-level.
I conclude from this that the capacity and economics of mobile data are still pretty primitive, iPhone or not, and this makes devices such as the iPad start to look less enticing when they can’t be conveniently connected to public Wi-Fi.
That's roughly 34MB per day for a mobile iPad user, a laughable amount as many will find out. To their cost.
Fixed broadband might be a slow pipe for most UK users but behind all the expensive, flashy new devices, mobile data is still the industry’s thin straw.