how limited is unlimited *

More misleading Marketing rubbish, how much data can you transfer with an unlimited data plan from a UK MSP?

the * is the give away!

I’ve posted about the rapid deployment work I have been doing and it’s lead me to take a good long look at the data bundles on offer from MSPs in the UK.   

the biggest problem I have encountered is the fact that the unlimited* data bundles just aren’t unlimited they have Fair usage Policies (FUP) attached which point out that if you exceed the FUP suggested maximum data transfer then you’ll get reprimanded, keep doing it and you’ll get a punitive tariff or disconnected.

for my application faced with a even only a handful of users accessing resources remotely I’m worried about a limit of any kind.

the common parlance is an unlimited* label for a high transfer service but the * actually hides the limit of data you can transfer, the standard unlimited* limit seems to be 1 GByte, but again I’ll summarise below

Orange mobile Data Packages:

  • Orange have Orange World access MAX, for £75 a month you get unlimited downloads subject to a fair use policy maximum of 1000 Mbytes.
  • they also have a less well publicised package, as in not on their website, for corporates that allows you to use your data card with unlimited* downloads for £45 a month again a 1000 Mbytes FUP limit

Vodafone Mobile Data Packages:

Vodafone have two and a half  offerings  

  • Data Unlimited, with unlimited* usage which is 1 GByte a month for £45 p.c.m.
  • Data Travel with unlimited* UK usage which again is 1 GByte a month but includes  100 Mbytes of roaming data on Vodafone’s preferred networks and costs £95 per month
  • the half an offering is their 3G Broadband wireless router offering which provides you with up to 10 GBytes of data download and a wireless router for £149 per month

O2 Mobile Data Packages:

O2 win the prize for honesty they don’t have an unlimited* tariff they have O2 Data Max 1024 with, you guessed it a 1024 Mbytes limit for, surprise surprise £45 a month, I find this a bit of a disappointment as my first exposure to mobile data was through O2 (then Cellnet) and their 9.6 kbits dial up data tariff on my Nokia 2110, they led the pack briefly but damn are they out of touch today.

T-Mobile Mobile Data Packages:

T-Mobile seem to be leading the pack at the moment, not only do they go for the honest approach in naming (they have web’n’walk plus and web’n’walk MAX) WnW Plus gets you 3 GBytes of transfer for £24.68 and MAX gets you a relatively whopping 10 GBytes for £37.45 (that’s £45 incl for you and me) – as I said I’ll test the coverage out and report back but anecdotal evidence seems promising.

Oh and with plus VoIP is a no no – I assume they block ports on MAX VoIP is allowed

the cherry is that for a limited time ( until end of March) you get free access to all of T-Mobile’s 1500 WiFi Hotspots (plus 300 Openzone roaming minutes a month ) until your contract is up (normally £8.51) 

3 – here are their tariffs for what they are worth

In my opinion  avoid 3 like the plague because their data tariffs  have a very nasty sting in their tail. Remember 3 don’t have their own 2G network so in addition to the 1 GByte limit on their Web and Office 1GB (duh) you have a limit of  154 Mbytes  on roaming networks – roaming networks like 3’s own borrowed   2G network in the UK – not only will it be slow but over step the limit and forget using GPRS when the 3G signal fails you. Not worth the risk really

for the time being, providing coverage is what it’s made out to be the T-Mobile offering looks most promising  however surely it can only be a matter of time until someone offers all you can eat data tariffs maybe funded by advertising.

Blyk plan to offer a  (totally ?) free advertising funded mobile network to young people (37 is young right?) which is  a great idea.

There might be room for a mobile operator to try this with a sponsored browser like good old old Opera (v 5 or less I think ) or something  like this idea I had  might not work in a business environment but someone should try it.


7 Responses to how limited is unlimited *

  1. […] also absent as they too don’t offer HSDPA they get more of a paragraph than O2 as they have the nastiest sting in the unlimited tail I’d suggest this is because 3 don’t actually own a 2G network, they have in country […]

  2. […] mentioned Blyk in passing a few weeks back  as an interetsing slant on a way to finance a mobile network it, today Blyk annouced that it has […]

  3. Rob Evans says:

    There are two more Orange data bundles that you haven’t mentioned.

    1. is the unlimited* off peak plan 7 till 7 and all weekend for £5

    2. the 24/7 unlimited* data plan for £8 a month.

    * acceptable use policy, with a nominal cap of 1gb, but if you’re using push email and the odd web page you’re not going o get anywhere near 1gb..

  4. fanatical says:

    Hi Rob, cheers for the pointers, I’d missed the off peak plan, I can only find it on the consumer tarrifs but it’ll be worth looking at for my spare handset, couldn’t see the 24/7 £8 plan though so a link would be great.

    I agree that for most folks the 1 Gbyte limit is more than enough but for my particular application (rapid deployment of wireless comms to mitigate delays in wired access for multiple staff in temporary accomodation) the 1 Gbyte limit looks pretty bashable, a few staff with hefty email attachments or downloads would blow that in a month.

    It’s interesting that all the networks touting for our business say not to worry about the FUP they’ve never heard of anyone being penalised for breaking it and yet there is quite a body of anecdotal evidence to the contrary on the web.

    It’s worrying enough as the penalties for lack of service would fall on the company I work for once the service was installed so I’d hate some over zealous empoyee to be the first to apply the cap.

    I’ve been pulling vodafones and T-Mobiles offerings apart in testing and will post the results soon (unfortunately Orange were out of stock of loan cards for our trial)

  5. […] unlimited VoIP calls are  a less rigorous version of our old favourite unlimited* in that you can only average 4 hours a day over a month to any one number or get hit with an […]

  6. Charlie says:

    O2 have just released a new data tariff which I’ve just signed up for – 200Mb for £7.50 a month. On the website it’s marketed as Unlimited* – * being “subject to a fair usage policy of 200Mb” but the guy on the phone was upfront about the limit.

  7. jason says:

    31-12-07 today i received a letter from t-mobile stating that i had abused my fair use policy. from the 1st november to 31st november they claim i have downloaded 42.04gb.
    should i continue to use more than my fair use amount between 1st january 2008 and 30th january 2008 we will reduce your connection speed to 64kbs. im being unfairly punished as my data counter shows from 22 april to 31st december 2007 i have uploaded 1.24gb data and downloaded 5.90gb data this is big diffrence to 42gb in 30 days. now im moving to orange and getting free broadband and laptop t-mobile can shove there internet where the sun dont shine

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