Archive for the 'Not Unlimited' Category

3UK make “All you can eat” data available to all new customers

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

When I last mentioned the One Plan (from 3UK), the new “All you can eat” data option was only available to Apple iPhone users.  I see (from the 3Store website) that if you take out a 24month contract on the One Plan today, you now get the “All you can eat” data allowance on any phone.  At a time when other companies (such as T-Mobile) are restricting their Internet allowance, a network that is happy to let you use as much as you can.

However, we do believe this is currently limited to new customers; existing customers will need to check with 3UK as to whether they are able to benefit from this tariff.


T-Mobile reduce Internet usage across all tariffs

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Although it’s not 100% clear, it looks like T-Mobile has decided to reduce the amount of Internet data allowance each handset has to quite a low level (in fact, one of the low levels available from the main networks).  Whereas before T-Mobile had a high fair usage limit (often 3-4GB before they got upset and warned users), or stated a limit around 1GB (but without enforcing it), they have just published this information (here) stating that the limit is now 500MB across all contracts (old and new) as from 1 Feb 2011.  When other networks have tried this in the past, they have often accepted that it warrants a change in the T&Cs, and allowed people to cancel contracts early, however, we are hearing that T-Mobile are not letting people out of contracts over this change.

Let’s be clear, for many users this simply won’t be a problem; 3UK recently told me that over two thirds of their users use some of the 150MB data allowance provided whenever you topup, but most did not exceed that limit, nor needed to buy any additional internet allowances, so it may well equally be that many T-Mobile users will never reach the new lower limits, however, there will be some who use devices such as Android phones, which are constantly syncing data (email, calendars etc.) and using online navigation solutions (such as Google Maps), and uploading photos or videos directly from the handset who will find the new lower limit a struggle.

Other networks seem to offer 500MB on their lower tariffs, moving up to 750MB and then 1GB for the higher tariffs (or specific tariffs, such as for the iPhone), so this does seem to be a rather low limit across all tariffs, and there are still statements on the T-Mobile website implying that there are a range of allowance for Apple iPhone devices.

In fact, if you head to the Fair Use Policy pages (here), these still list figures of up to 3GB as applying to new contracts, so it’s definitely not clear what rates will apply for someone taking out a contract today, but it’s fair to say that it looks like T-Mobile may be reducing everyone’s allowances from next month.

T-Mobile have privately let me know that even if you go through the 500MB limit (and they’ve said very few customers do use more than that on a monthly basis), you should still be able to browse the web and read email even at the limit.  It’s ironic that T-Mobile have introduced these new lower limits only a few weeks after 3UK started to remove limits from some of their high end iPhone tariffs…


SIM15 back in 3Store

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

One of the more popular SIM Only packages that 3UK offer, SIM 15, is back available on special offer in the 3Store again.  This offers 300 cross network minutes, 3000 texts, 2000 3UK3UK minutes, 1GB Internet data, free voicemail, Skype and Windows Live Messenger, and all for £15 per month with a 1 month rolling contract.

Of course, the One Plan is still available as another option; at £25 per month it offers 2000 cross network minutes, 5000 texts, 5000 3UK3UK minutes, 1GB Internet data, and the free voicemail, Skype and WLM, and although at first glance it’s offering much more value, it’s also a 12 month contract, which shows how good value the SIM 15 option is if you don’t want to commit to a contract.

As we commented a couple of weeks back, it’s nice to see 3UK formally drop the use of the word “unlimited”, and also nice to see the SIM 15 offering the 1GB Internet data which is common to their higher tariffs, and well worthy of promotion compared to the other networks who are mainly aiming at 500MB as the data limit.


When unlimited means unlimited

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Vodafone square logo

Vodafone seem to be leading the way in terms of the word “unlimited”.  Last year they stopped using “unlimited” in all marketing concerning their data allowance (unfortunately they are now enforcing the 500MB limit instead of just having the limit stated in the paperwork; see here), but they have now just announced that in terms of “unlimited texts” they actually mean that.  The statement reads:

“Unlimited texts are now available On all handset contract deals, texts will not be capped at 3000 but will be truly unlimited.”

It’s not clear whether this is retrospective, or only applies to new contracts, but it’s nice to see that at least with Vodafone they are nearly at the position where if they say “unlimited”, they actually mean it!

Of course, there can’t be many people who send more than 3,000 texts a month, but at least for those that get close to that limit they can now continue in the knowledge that they won’t be charged for going over the limit.

I wonder if this is the first move towards a truly “unlimited” package being announced by the networks…


Dell Streak available tomorrow from O2

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

This is a very interesting device, and one I had the fortune to get a sneak peek Hands On with last week.  This is a 5″ tablet phone, which I have to say is a little large to hold up to your ear when on a call, so you might want to budget for a Bluetooth Headset to not look quite so silly, or simply add this to your existing phone with a data only contract (more later).  However, it’s running Android, and features a very nice touchscreen, which can take the knocks of every day life (I saw the blunt end of a knife be punched into the screens of 2 devices and neither suffered any problems with the touchscreen still working fine straight afterwards).  Obviously Dell & O2 don’t condone this level of abuse, and do warn that there are still certain angles where a drop onto a hard floor will still cause serious damage, but at least it’s a little tougher than many, and features something called Gorilla Glass to provide that protection.

The device I saw had a range of additional Android applications installed onto them, so although I can’t comment on what comes as standard with the device, they seem to have full support of the Android Marketplace, and hence there is a whole raft of additional applications that can be installed.

Although I didn’t get long with the devices, they seemed to be coping with many demos without a major impact on battery life, although that obviously needs a longer trial to establish whether it can last more than the common single day of usage.

O2, however, are offering the phone on a whole host of tariff options, ranging from the 30-day rolling Simplicity contracts (the Dell Streak 32GB will cost £399 upfront on all Simplicity contracts) to the high end £60 per month “unlimited” everything 24-month contract (where the device will be free).

24 month smartphone tariffs

Included minutes Included data & Wi-Fi Included texts Monthly cost Streak 16GB cost Streak 32GB cost
100 Unlimited Unlimited £25 £149 £249
300 Unlimited Unlimited £30 £59 £149
600 Unlimited Unlimited £35 Free £89
900 Unlimited Unlimited £40 Free £59
1200 Unlimited Unlimited £45 Free Free
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited £60 Free Free

18 month smartphone tariffs

Included minutes Included data & Wi-Fi Included texts Monthly cost Streak 16GB cost Streak 32GB cost
100 Unlimited Unlimited £30 £149 £249
300 Unlimited Unlimited £35 £59 £149
600 Unlimited Unlimited £40 Free £89
900 Unlimited Unlimited £45 Free £59
1200 Unlimited Unlimited £50 Free Free
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited £65 Free Free

The Smartphone tariffs above offer unlimited texts, data and Wi-Fi at thousands of BT Openzone and The Cloud hotspots as well as a wide range of minutes.

12 month simplicity tariffs

Included minutes Included data & Wi-Fi Included texts Monthly cost Streak 16GB cost Streak 32GB cost
300 Unlimited Unlimited £15 £349 £399
600 Unlimited Unlimited £20 £349 £399
900 Unlimited Unlimited £25 £349 £399
1200 Unlimited Unlimited £30 £349 £399
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited £45 £349 £399

30 day simplicity tariffs

Included minutes Included data & Wi-Fi Included texts Monthly cost Streak 16GB cost Streak 32GB cost
300 Unlimited Unlimited £20 £349 £399
600 Unlimited Unlimited £25 £349 £399
900 Unlimited Unlimited £30 £349 £399
1200 Unlimited Unlimited £35 £349 £399
Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited £50 £349 £399

Again, it’s nice to see Wi-Fi at hotspots included even on these tariffs.

However, maybe the biggest area of interest will be the Data Only options, where the device isn’t actually used as a phone at all, but instead, concentrates on it’s capabilities as an Internet Tablet…

Contract length Included data Included Wi-Fi Monthly cost Streak 16GB cost Streak 32GB cost
24 months 3GB 500MB £25 Free* £99
24 months 3GB Unlimited £30 Free £49
18 months 3GB Unlimited £15 £349 £399
18 months 1GB Unlimited £10 £349 £399
1 month 3GB Unlimited £15 £399 £449
1 month 1GB Unlimited £10 £449 £449

* The 16GB Dell Streak is free on a £25 a month 24 month tariff until 30 June 2010, after which it’ll cost £49.

Although there’s quite a jump from the £15 per month 18-month contract to the £30 per month 24-month contract, with the smaller outlay of the phone itself, it works out roughly the same cost (within £10) over 24 months on both.

The specs of the device (taken from Dell) include:

  • A sharp 5-inch capacitive multi-touch WVGA (800×480) display for a great full-screen experience watching video or browsing the web
  • Fast 1GHz Snapdragon ARM-based mobile processor from Qualcomm
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash that offers easy point & shoot capability and quick uploads to YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and more
  • VGA front-facing camera enables video chat functionality down the road
  • A user-removable (and replaceable) battery
  • A 3.5mm headphone jack means many of you can use the Dell Streak as the music source (and more) in your car
  • Integrated 3G + Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + Bluetooth 2.1 (think headsets, external keyboards, stereo headsets, etc.)
  • UMTS / GPRS / EDGE class 12 GSM radio with link speeds of HSDPA 7.2 Mbps / HSUPA
  • A user-accessible Micro SD slot expandable up to 32GB. That means you can store  lots of movies, music, photos or other kinds of files.

On the software side, here’s what you can expect:

  • A customized multi-touch version of the Google Android operating system that features Dell user interface enhancements
  • Access to over 38,000  apps (and growing) via the Android Marketplace
  • Microsoft Exchange connectivity and integration through TouchDown
  • Google Voice support
  • Integrated Google Maps with voice-activated search, turn-by-turn navigation, street and satellite views
  • Quick access to activity streams via integrated social network app widgets like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

The only downside I can see to the device right now, is that I believe it ships with Android 1.6, although it’s likely that Android 2.1 or 2.2 will become available as an update, but not until later in the year (we’re hearing September).  The device as it stands, though, will be available tomorrow from O2 Stores and the O2 website.

I should point out as part of our “Not Unlimited” campaign, that I doubt that any of these “unlimited” references actually get you unlimited service, but O2 have not yet provided the detail behind what the actual unlimited limits are.


Vodafone to charge for too much Internet usage

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Vodafone square logo

As you will know, we’ve been quite vocal in our beliefs about the use of the word “unlimited” in marketing and advertising especially when it comes to mobile phones, and will often tell you (wherever we can) what the actual limits are that are specified in the small print of the T&Cs. Well, it appears Vodafone is going further, and will start charging for usage over the limit, potentially from 1 June.

To be fair to Vodafone, there were one of the first networks to drop the words “Unlimited Internet”, and have for some while specified that their tariffs come with “500MB Internet”, but there was little that happened should you actually go over this limit.  If you were obviously abusing the connection, they had the right to cut you off, but did little else.  Now, however, they are going to start charging you £5 per additional 500MB (possibly in 500MB chunks; ie go 1Kb over the limit, and that will cost you £5, although that’s not yet fully clear).

In the same week that 3UK have dropped their “unlimited” internet from 1Gb to 500MB (and again, are clearly stating their charges for going over this limit), it seems that although more and more tariffs will come with that first 500MB for free, those using more than that need to be ready to pay for the privilege.


3UK launch new site and new tariffs

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

3 logo

INQ £15 Texter 18month contract

Yesterday 3UK launched an updated website.  Although this new site has received mixed comments with some people liking it, and others not, there are a couple of things to be said about it.  Firstly, 3UK have kept all the information you need handy, such as coverage checkers.  Secondly, and this won’t be obvious from the site, but internally within the company there were champions requesting (and ultimately succeeding) that the website was not Flash based (and with it the potential to not allow direct links to product pages).  Overall, I’ve had a few visits to the website, and I’m happy with the redesign.


At the same time, 3UK have removed the Mix and Match tariffs and removed the Texter tariffs (and the old Internet Texter tariffs). Now, there is 3 choices:

  • SIM Only remains, offering a 1 month rolling contract for those who already have a phone, or are happy to buy PAYG phones to use with the service.
  • Internet Talker tariffs, all 24 month contracts, all include “unlimited” 500MB Internet, and the standard range of free facilities (Skype, Windows Live Messenger, Twitter) and “unlimited” 3000 3UK3UK minutes per month.  4 tariffs are available, called 100, 300, 500 and 900, which denotes the number of cross network minutes or texts per month available.
  • For an additional £3 or £5 per month (depending on tariff), there are 4 Internet Texter tariffs, which offer the same 100, 300, 500 or 900 cross network minutes per month, but also come with “unlimited” Internet (*), and “unlimited” 3000 texts.

(*) It seems there is an inconsistency on the 3UK website; although both the Internet Texter and Internet Talker tariffs have a headline of “unlimited internet”, when you look at the detail the Internet Texter tariffs are shown as “unlimited internet”, whereas the Internet Talker tariff are shown as “500MB data”.  This either means 3UK has dropped it’s “unlimited” cap from 1Gb to 500MB, or there is a difference between these 2 tariffs of an additional 500MB.  Either way, some clarify is definitely required over how much internet is or isn’t included with these tariffs, and equally why has the limit dropped…

So, if you were after something like a Nokia 6700 Slide, to get it with 300 cross network minutes (24 month contract) will cost you:

  • Internet Talker 300: £10 per month
  • Handset: £6 per month

therefore a total of £16 per month.  To add those “unlimited” 3000 texts as well would cost an additional £5 per month, so the Handset with the Internet Texter 300 tariff would be £21 per month.

On one hand, I have to offer 3UK the greatest support for taking the initiative and including Internet access with every tariff (apart from SIM only), and that can be as little as £10 per month (it looks like this was the plan 3UK were talking to me about a month or so back), however, on the other hand, making all contracts 24 months may backfire for the many people who don’t want to be tied in for that long. I’m also not happy with the lack of clarity over what “unlimited” internet means, and why it’s now dropped from the old 1GB limit to the new 500MB limit (in fact, you’ll actually get your first warning at 400MB, whereas with the old limits your first warning was when you hit 1GB, and you could actually keep going for some while before being charged).

Having said all that; looking at the Internet Talker 300 tariff, it means you could have a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic for £10 per month (24 month contract) a Nokia E71 (Refurbished) for £13 per month (24 month contract), or if you fancy Android an HTC Hero for £19 per month (24 month contract, 2 months Spotify Premium) or even the HTC Desire for £20 per month (24 month contract, 2 months Spotify Premium); that’s an impressive range of handsets at impressive prices as long as you can accept the 24 month contract, and are happy with the 500MB per month data limit.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that the majority of the prices I have quoted regarding these new tariffs are the online prices, which have an online exclusive £2 per month reduction over store prices, so to get many of these deals, you will have to visit the 3Store as opposed to going to your local High Street.


Where free means free and unlimited means unlimited

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Wow, what a refreshing article to write; here’s a company who, when they offer unlimited internet, do not have a hidden data usage cap or “fair usage policy”, here’s a company who, when they say “we think free should mean free”, allow 0800 freephone numbers to be dialled free of charge from your mobile.  Yet they only charge 8p per minute to call other mobile networks, charge 4p per text, and a £10 TopUp (giffgaff call them goodybags!) will give you unlimited (yes they mean this) texts, and unlimited (yes, again, actually unlimited) internet access, along with 100 minutes of free calls (all lasting 1 month).

Now, nothing is perfect, and there are a couple of minor caveats to the “unlimited” internet; it must be personal use only, commercial and automatic use (whatever “automatic” means?!?) are not allowed, and finally, you are not allowed to connect your PC via your phone (tethering).  I wonder if the fact my phone has a scheduled connection once a day to synchronise my calendar would count as “automatic”; I suspect not, although something that happened every 5 minutes may be a different matter…

However, it’s a breath of fresh air seeing a company thinking like this.  The company? giffgaff, the new virtual mobile operator, owned and utilising the O2 network.  They are SIM only, so you need to purchase / bring with you an unlocked phone, and they are keeping their costs down (and being able to offer such offers) via community support, and no call centres.

So, if you have an unlocked phone, are outside your contract and currently spend more than £10 per month, or topup by more than £10 per month, can cope with remembering to topup every month, and the O2 network is an option for you, then you might well want to consider giffgaff

Thanks to Jonathan Jenson who pointed out these offers to me.

Update: James Body has been in touch (see comments) and confirmed that giffgaff do have an element of a Internet fair usage policy; it’s 100MB per day, but it appears it’s likely you’ll need to go over that limit multiple times in a week before they issue a warning to reduce your usage, and only if you fail to act will they bar a user.   So far, they have warned 2 users, and not barred anyone.  Of course, 100MB per day equates to 3GB per month, which is far in excess of any other network, and would be a serious amount of usage by anyone (although a limit is still a limit in our eyes).

To put that “100MB a day” in perspective, if you don’t stream music / video, and aren’t uploading lots of pictures every day, many people find the 150MB free Internet that 3UK offer can easily last 1 month, so for most users it shouldn’t be a problem.


Tesco announce iPhone prices

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

iPhone 3GS

Tesco Mobile will be selling the iPhone from Monday, with the following pricing:

  • On PAYG, the 8GB iPhone 3G will cost £342, the 16GB iPhone 3GS £440 and the 32GB iPhone 3GS £538, and includes 12-month “unlimited” web and WiFi (BT Openzone only, whereas O2 offer BT Openzone and The Cloud)

On a 12-month contract:

  • The 8GB iPhone 3G will cost £222 upfront, and £20/month (12-month contract)
  • The 16GB iPhone 3GS will cost £320 upfront, and £20/month (12-month contract)
  • The 32GB iPhone 3GS will cost £407 upfront, and £20/month (12-month contract)

For that £20/month, you’ll get £60 of value of calls & texts, and “unlimited” web and WiFi (again BT Openzone only)

On a 24-month contract:

  • The 8GB iPhone 3G will be free and £60/month (24-month contract)
  • The 16GB iPhone 3GS will be free and £60/month (24-month contract)
  • The 32GB iPhone 3GS will cost £50 upfront and £60/month (24-month contract)

For that £60/month you’ll get “unlimited” £500 worth of calls and texts, and “unlimited” web and WiFi (BT Openzone only)

Tesco Mobile have call rates of 20p per minute and 10p per text, although it’s possible to halve these figures for up to 5 pre-selected phone numbers, and for PAYG users, Tesco Mobile offer some free credit once per month when you topup.

It’s certainly not clear reading the Tesco Mobile what the Fair Use limit is for the “unlimited” web; for a normal Pay Monthly contract, internet is charged at £4 per MB and comes out of that “unlimited” credit of £500 worth of services, whereas it’s not clear whether the iPhone tariffs will be any different.  As a result, you should certainly discuss the costs carefully with Tesco Mobile before signing up…

Some information courtesy of The Really Mobile Project.


Vodafone make two positive moves

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Vodafone square logo

Firstly, in a move we are fully supportive of, Vodafone has announced that as of 1st December, all marketing must refer to their mobile internet service as “500MB of mobile internet data”, and will no longer use the wording “unlimited mobile internet”.  This is a very positive step, and we welcome the change, and hope this drives all other UK networks to adopt the same attitude.  Here at UK Gadgeteer we’ve been careful to lay out the true figures for some time, but it’s nice to see the change being applied across all marketing activities.

Of course, given that competitors such as 3UK offer 1GB for the same money (or less), it would be nice to see their offering increase, but at least they are starting to offer a level playing field and allow the consumer to be able to choose their level of service knowing exactly what they are buying.

However, in an equally positive move, Vodafone UK is making their mobile internet service completely free tomorrow (Friday 27th November 2009); this is only from mobile handsets, but whether you have a PAYG or Pay Monthly contract, you can surf the internet directly from the phone, and it won’t cost a penny.  Equally, if you already pay for mobile internet on your phone, then any usage tomorrow will not eat into your data allowance.

Interestingly, we note it’s exactly three months since Vodafone last offered mobile internet free on a Friday; we can only hope that Vodafone find their network is able to cope, and can open up free / inclusive mobile internet to even more people as standard.

Well done to Vodafone!