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O2 UK caps data just ahead of iPhone 4 launch

updated 10:00 am EDT, Thu June 10, 2010

O2 makes 500MB cap common for most smartphones

O2 UK today joined in the steps backwards from unlimited plans by rolling out a new set of smartphone plans that cap data use. All new and upgrading customers as of the iPhone 4's June 24 launch will have plans with a fixed amount of data that will require Bolt-On extensions to extend. Customers will have to pay either 5 for each extra 500MB block of data or 10 for another 1GB.

The carrier has also set some of the lowest average caps in the UK. Two-year contract plans between 25 per month and 35 per month stop at 500MB before they need Bolt-On data. It isn't until 40 that customers get 750MB of data, and the most included data tops out at the 60 plan's 1GB. Customers on existing service are unaffected, but new and upgrading customers will only get unlimited data as a promo until October 1.

Officials at O2 spun the caps as providing "clarity" for customers and said it would send text messages to let customers know as they get near their caps, but the reduced data is an about-face from unlimited plans that were unveiled as recently as February. Carriers like Orange offer 750MB even on their least expensive plans, while Vodafone UK can offer 500MB of data for as little as 15 per month.

The strategy appears to follow that of AT&T's newly limited data plans, which themselves were timed for the iPhone 4 unveiling and are meant to get as many new customers as possible using capped services.

By Electronista Staff


  1. mullum

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007


    comment title

    Data needs to be seemless, if thats the right phrase. No-one wants to be worrying about whether or not they are using too much. Thats like the the bad old days of broadband and dial-up. Let's see what the other carriers are offering - I'll take the best deal, thanks ;)

  1. snork

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008


    Sucks for the Brits

    I dunno what the previous UK pricing was for the old unlimited plans, but that makes the AT&T caps look GENEROUS.

  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999


    $88 for one gig!

    That's $88 per month for a measly one gigabyte. Holy cow!

  1. Serenak

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2007


    Just to put it in perspective...

    I just read this and thought "holy cow! I am gonna get gouged... then I wondered how much data I actually use - I looked in Settings>General>Usage where it says I have used 618MB in and 145MB out... (since I had the phone I am guessing...) so that is under 1GB in 2 and a half years unless I don't read the thing right. Now I don't live and die on my iPhone like a roadwarrior might, but I consider myself a moderate user and if that stat is right then I would say most of us will never go near that cap (and also shows just how much someone would have to be using the network to go over - over a year of my use PER MONTH...

    Looked at in that perspective I didn't feel quite so upset.

  1. Parky

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999


    What do you use?

    Before we all start moaning check your usage.
    Since January I have only used 135MB download, so I'm not going to be going over the 500MB limit each month. Look before you complain.

  1. Parky

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 1999


    This makes it clear that most of use will not be a

    O2 has said that the changes will affect just 3% of its 21m customers, who will have to pay additional charges for their data use.

    "That 3% are using something like 36% of the data capacity of 02's network," said Mr Wood. "If O2 get it right, everybody will get a better service."

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