Thursday, 30 July 2009

UK mobile broadband charges – don’t go over your limit!

The BBC has reported a survey by price comparison site which found that some 75% of UK mobile broadband users risk high charges for going over their monthly download limit, as over 50% didn’t know what their limit was while another 24% didn’t even know there was a limit.

According to the BBC report, the current charges are, for every extra gigabyte over your limit that you use:

    Mobile network operator

    Charge per extra gigabyte

    O2 £200 (!)
    3 (Three) over £100
    Vodafone £15
    Virgin £14.95
    Orange £14.95
    T-Mobile No charge, will suggest heavy users change tariff.

The BBC news report has a quote from O2 that the high penalty was "used as a deterrent and to make sure that others using the network had a good experience.. We text them when they are at 50% of the usage, and again at 90% and again if they go over.”

I have a 3 dongle and exceeded my monthly limit once, but I wasn’t charged as much as £100!

I think the BBC article is slightly misleading in that you don’t get penalised for a full GB’s worth of charges the moment you go over your allowance – it’s a scaled charging structure, according to the full mobile broadband guide with costs charts which appears to be the source of the BBC item. UPDATE: I picked up on an older item - the news release for this specific subject must have been given to the BBC and picked up by them before it was even published on's own site! Here's the specific Moneysupermarket press release.

But I do agree the charges for going over your limit are too high, and the differences between the mobile network providers is staggering.

To me, the most important practcal issue for consumers is: does the network text you as soon as you go over (ideally with a reminder of the rates), or even better text you if you’re getting near your limit? Unfortunately that information isn’t in the tables.


Al Iguana said...

3uk have a 1 gig allowance (smaller than O2, who have 2 gig afaik). They won't inform you if you go over this, you just get "internet use outside allowance" on your bill.

Saying that, I haven't hit the 1 gig limit yet, but it would be nice to get a text saying your're approaching the limit, especially when driving around running something like Google Maps (which is the biggest bandwidth user I've found on a mobile so far)

Improbulus said...

I agree, Al. I've tweeted asking @3mobilebuzz if there's any chance of that happening.