O2 has admitted its 3G customers are limited to 128Kb/s connections, with business users being automatically upgraded to 384Kb/s if they are deemed to warrant it. 3G connection speeds are highly variable, so establishing that the network has imposed a speed limit isn't as easy as it might appear, even though O2 users have long …
This is actually better than having it vary from 0 to 384 non-stop
Aaaa... Finally... Someone in a mobile operator noticing that the 3G MAC is a total and unmitigated disaster as far as data is concerned. Now the question is when will all the screaming baboons in the so called industry press and consultancy realise it.
The greatest advantage of 3G is its greatest bane. It can allocate bandwidth dynamically across a very wide range by giving different portions of the CDMA code tree to different clients.
It is a very expensive operation to continuously adjust that and each adjustment takes time. As a result, the adjustments lag after the demand. As a result if clients are dynamically adjusted across the full range even when the cell has spare capacity a fraction of them will always get less bandwidth than they need. This gets worse as the number of clients increase. In fact 3G is the only network technology where the bandwidth available to a single client DECREASES EXPONENTIALLY with the number of clients.
Further to this, in 3G the MAC layer which controls who gets how much bandwidth is centrally processed. In fact it eats around 90%+ of the resource on the RNC. So as a matter of fact if there are a lot of clients the RNC may end up being to busy and starts skipping opportunities to adjust bandwidths and clients who have 0 demand stay with allocated slots and clients with pending demand stay with no bandwidth allocated for prolonged amounts of time.
Some of this can be observed in the busier areas already (disclaimer - I am not on O2 myself, observations are from the other networks).
So regardless of the screams of thousand flacks and consultants whose whaledream has suddenly been violated this is something that makes lots of sense. Unfortunately, it is a stopgap measure. It will not be enough. The underlying problem is the technology itself and it cannot be fixed.
Paris - as the best approximation of the people who complain about this measure and pretend to have some technical knowledge on the subject.
We have the technology, we can build them stronger,faster, more reliable, we just can't be arsed.
So, O2 are the sole marketers of the iPhone in the UK and also choose to heavily restrict speeds on their 3G network (which iPhones as we know do not have). Does this seem like somewhat less of a coincidence to anyone else, rather a marketing trick to make the iPhone connection look much better in comparison?
Makes me glad that I moved away from O2 in 2007, although that was to do with some utterly shocking customer service I received from them rather than any technical issue.
I've actually switched off 3G on my O2 phone because I find that I get a better phone signal out in the sticks where I live when I'm not trying to get a 3G signal. Besides, I very rarely use data services because trying to browse the web on a mobile phone is the most pointless and frustrating exercise since the invention of the "Press 1 now" call handling services, so frankly I couldn't care less. I pay no more for my new contract than for my old one (which was on a handset not capable of 3G) so if I do use it, it's an added bonus.
The whole 3G thing is a monumental waste of time and money all round. I refuse to use mobile phones as modems because, frankly, it makes you look like a twat who thinks they're so important they can't possibly be out of contact with the office for more than a nanosecond. A mobile phone is just that: A phone that can be carried around. Stop trying to make it do everything else as well!
Does anyone know if there is actually any technical reason why O2 are so piss-poor when it comes to data connections/packages compared to the other operators? Is their infrastructure simply not up to the job?
this explains it..?
I have installed the youtube clients for my SE-K850 and SE-W880 handsets. Whan I try to play a video-clip, then the youTube service says that my network speed is too slow.
Anyone actually using YouTube from their O2 3G handsets in this way?
Orange gives me 800Mbits+ regularily
I work at O2's main development centre in Leeds.
My N95 on orange gives me 3.5G coverage all over leeds, but it especially good inside O2 (far better than O2 coverage ironitcally). I get sustained download speeds of 60-100K/bytes per second making it really useful for downloads.
Oh.. and I'm PAYG, and get all this for Orange's flatrate 5 quid a week unlimited data.
Redefining of the word unlimited
It's nice to see ISP's redefining old words like unlimited. The only problem is the rest of the world is still using them.
the more you spend, the faster you go?
It seems to me that the weasel word here is "corporate". Normally when companies use this (or it's close cousin "enterprise") they really just mean rich. Or possibly just one of the poor gits who accidentally used data when abraod - at the usurious rates the operators have been able to charge - with no recourse for the vict^H^H^H^Hcustomer.
Given that 3G costs are accrued per megabyte, then the faster your pipe the faster you spend. If I was to be cynical about this, I'd reckon that those customers who spend the most are given the faster connections - so that they can spend even more, even faster. Of course the other way to try for a higher quality connection is to threaten to transfer to another supplier. O2 seem to be (well, IMHO) remarkably flexible in giving away deals when faced with the prospect of losing someone - or is it the prospect of the competition gaining someone? Whether PAYG users (who, in reality, are the only ones safe from having their bank accounts freed of all and any funds, due to a careless or unnoticed press of a button) have the same bargaining powers is questionable, however.
Even if you do manage to get upgraded, as the article says - 3G speeds are highly variable and after the honeymoon period, you may well find that your data rate drops back to "normal". I guess this is standard behaviour for a technology that cannot be benchmarked due to the high number of random factors and the high margins on the mutually overpriiced services.
In my experience, having used various mobiles and worked with Nokia's mobile sites, anything less than an iPhone or N95 is pointless for web browsing, too frustrating / time consuming. I doubt the iPhone has anything to do with O2's 3G decision though (as it wont affect sales, and if people want fast 3G they arent forced to go with O2!), I think they just like being tight arses really, no conspiracy theory to it.
Presumably your mobile also makes you look like a twat who thinks they're so important they can't possibly be out of *phone* contact with the office for more than a nanosecond.
I for one use mobile broadband to get freelance work done when I'm away from home. Very useful. And no, I don't feel like a twat for doing it.
As for trying to browse the web on a mobile phone - try Opera.
Why use mobile data...
... When there are so many phones with wireless, and so many insecure access points?
That explains it
This explains why my iPhone doesn't seem slower than 3G O2 phones. Interesting foot-shooting there.
Why are ISPs complaining about us using what they sell us? What with the iPlayer bitching and phone shaping, this one looks like it'll run and run. Time to buy shares in popcorn.
@ Steve Pettifer
That's because you're a small minded, unimaginative moron.
My 'phone functions very nicely as a compact camera, email client, torch, GPS and web browser, SMS client and (when it's not on 'silent') a 'phone. Obviously it depends on the 'phone as to how well it performs each function and wouldn't be my browser of choice, however every other function it does very well considering it's size and convenience.
@ Andy Worth
It has always seemed odd to me that the most obvious 3G device, the iPhone does not have 3G. Also odd that it is limited to O2 for no decernable technical reason. Even stranger that O2 would promote a device with WiFi. And now this, an admission that their 3G can't cope. It becomes clear!
If the iPhone had 3.5G then people would definately want to run them on Orange at 800kbps for a cheeper tarrif.
3 mobile + laptop = 384k cap?
Maybe someone can answer this to me:
When I use the internet on my 3 N95, I get a very reliable 3.5G connection, far in excess of 384kb/s. However, when I connect my N95 to my laptop using the Nokia PC suite, it never connects above 384 kb/s, and the connection drops every now and then.
Would anyone care to speculate if this is a deliberate cap that 3 are imposing, or a limitation of the PC suite software?
@Anton - bang on - great post
Annecdotal I know but...
There are 10 of us sat in an office up in newcastle all running 3g - all within a few meters of each other.
I constantly get 3.5G - good rates - super access etc, the bloke right next to me get plain old 3g, as do a few others, the remainig chaps can't get a signal and are left with gprs.
We're all on a coroporate flat rate job.
So @pete - we don't get charged per meg - that's not where the main operators are interested in making cash....
BTW O2 ripped and replaced Nortel 3G kit when they got bought by telefonica who had an existing deal with lucent (I think) - wouldn't be suprised if thats et them back a couple of years on the infrastructure side....
Steve Pettifer has got it exactly right, and your comments make you the moron. A recent survey that was done indicated that the people DON'T want all the pointless stuff that comes on Mobile phones.
The most important thing that was required was battery life and in fact MORE people DIDN'T want a camera on the phone then people who did. Mobile Phones are getting worse as they try and put more and more pointless rubbish into them. Nearly all mobile phones now give you the ability to do video calling, but how many people do you know who use it? The fact is that a mobile phone's job is to be EXACTLY that. Anything else is a gimmick which is why not many phones last more then the length of the contract without going wrong at least once. The most reliable phones were the old nokia "bricks". (can't remember the model number but everyone seems to have had one) They lasted for ages without needing to be recharged and the one I had only stopped working when someone i knew threw it at a wall.
I think that some people have a need to use mobile internet, but now that the mobile companies have the Broadband dongles there's not much point putting web access on the phones
Just a side note, i wonder how many people that are defending this constant increase of pointless phone features are the same people that are slating Vista for exactly the same thing
Vodafone are much better, im getting 3.5g in most locations
... on the right network, with the right handset (in my case, T-mobile and a recent HTC smartphone), the browsing experience is generally very good at the moment. It may well be fundamentally technically broken (see first post), but it seems to work fine in spite of that.
Perhaps once the capacity issues start to become a problem in the real world, as user numbers increase, technology will have moved on. Already, HSDPA is starting to roll out with 7.2Mb/s, with 14.4 on the way in due course ... so the total bandwidth shared out in a given UMTS cell is increasing, which will help. Then there's femtocells, wifi hotspots in heavy-use areas, .....
Vote with your feet
O2 have concentrated on marketing for so long they forget that people still require a functional network. I've been on O2 since it was Cellnet back in the TACs days so you cannot say that I'm not familiar with O2. However recently I've cancelled a data sevice as a) it was very poor and b) the tariff plans were totally inappropriate. My voice phone is still on O2 but it flirts between 3G and GSM, then gets locked on 3G with no service and then gives poor coverage symptoms. And no it is not the handset - I work in the mobile industry (independently) - so have quite a few alternatives to try.
By contrast I've a little USB Huawei HSDPA module on the Vodafone network, that on most occasion, apart from the fact that Internet images are rendered down, gives me more reliability in the UK than Wi-Fi.
The difference, - well I know Voda are not the quietest when it comes to marketing hype and brand over substance - but they have discreetly being building a quality 3G HSDPA network. If you forget the gadget factor and need a good service then go elsewhere....
I'm down in darkest Cornwall and can't get ADSL at all, too far away from the exchange. I use a 3G modem from "Three" and I get really superb speeds all the time. The modem is set up on a headless PC in the loft (only place I get 3G signal!) to provide 24/7 access for my network and I rarely get dropped connections. I've been quite impressed so far, it's certainly an essential for me and I'd be back to crap satellite wihout it.
> The most reliable phones were the old nokia "bricks"
I imagine you're thinking of the 3210 or 3310. I had several of the latter (being a klutz and losing them or dropping them in puddles) and thought they were great. Indeed I have a 3410 in my desk drawer, which I'd probably hold onto as a spare if the screen weren't dead.
In contrast, I now have an HTC Hermes, which I still can't operate properly, but it's handy for reading the news in an idle moment.
More Usage = Faster
Does anyone know yet where to talk to O2 to get this "profile" changed?
Surely by making it slow for "ordinary" customers, they are going to get bored with it being so slow, and they use it less, hence O2 getting less money.....? idiots.
Re: wibbilus maximus
> The most reliable phones were the old nokia "bricks". (can't remember the model number but everyone seems to have had one) They lasted for ages without needing to be recharged and the one I had only stopped working when someone i knew threw it at a wall.
Wasn't someone called Naomi was it? Did the wall not get out of her way?
I have an N82 and while I am very happy with the phone I cannot use 3G AT ALL. This is despite my postcode being listed on O2 as having a strong signal and according to the ofcom sitefinder (http://www.sitefinder.ofcom.org.uk/) I am less then a few hundred yards away from a transmitter. WTF?
'Does anyone know if there is actually any technical reason why O2 are so piss-poor when it comes to data connections/packages compared to the other operators? Is their infrastructure simply not up to the job?'
I used to hate O2 with a passion (associated with BT you see) but I was with Orange for the last ten years and shopped around for the best data deal I could find and was horrified to discover it was actually O2 as their 'unlimited' does apparently actually mean 'unlimited' (and perhaps we know why now if it's restricted). I refused to believe them at first.
"Oh.. and I'm PAYG, and get all this for Orange's flatrate 5 quid a week unlimited data."
You might want to read the small print there. Orange's 'flat rate' has a pretty severe cap. Until VERY recently the cap was a pitiful 30Mb/month. Yes - a pitiful thirty megabytes - a month. This is when other operators were allowing between 1-3Gb.
I went into the Orange shop recently to ask about cancelling my contract and was asked why - I explained that their data policy was a very bad joke and was told that their limit was 3Gb now. I asked to see this in writing, and cut to three sales staff pouring over the A4 page of microscopic print trying to find it.
'Are you sure you didn't see '3G' and think it meant 3 gigs?' I asked. 'And why would it be buried in the micro-print? Surely if after all this time you are FINALLY in line with your competitors, I would expect to see that information displayed prominently as it might help you stop haemorrhaging customers.'
'No no - it's 3gig - I'm sure it is' I was told.
One of them called up Orange customer service to ask, then looked hopeful, then crestfallen.
'Um... it's 30Mb.' they sheepishly told me.
'Bye bye' I said.
Thing is I took one of their magazines home and actually found the limit which is now claimed to be 250Mb. (a very recent change).
Thing with Orange is once you go over the limit they start charging you the most ridiculous amount of money - I think it's something like £7 per Mb (it certainly used to be as I was hammered for it once in the past).
Orange when owned by Hutchison used to be great, but since France Telecom bought them they have been slowly going down the pan. Their cretinous data policy was the final straw that caused me to leave. In face the official reason I gave for leaving was 'because whoever set your data policy is a cretin'.
I presently am enjoying a SIM only rolling 30 day contract on O2 with 600 minutes, 1000 texts, unlimited data at for £25/month and not being afraid to leave my TyTn checking email automatically.
Only 1 speed...
I've just spoken to Customer Services at O2 and they stated to me that they only support one 3G speed, which is 128Kbps. If I want anything faster I would have to use HSPDA, which we all know is wrong...
So, misleading message from their Customer Service monkeys (which isn't unusual in itself) but he also didn't seem to be aware that if I was on a higher tariff then I would benefit from a faster 3G service (according to the O2 spokesman quoted in the article).
Answers on the back of an HSPDA enabled handset please!
Re: wibbilus maximus
Seriously, fella. If you're going to accuse others of being morons, you need to learn that 'then' is not the same as 'than'.
word of the day
thanks go the anonymouse coward @ Wednesday 9th April 2008 11:10 GMT
ps o2 stink of death
I have an O2 data-enabled SIM in an N82, so it's HSDPA-capable and sometimes the 3.5G symbol appears for data, sometimes not.
My tariff is a 20 quid per month SIM only, do definitely less than 35 quid per month, but I have the 7.50 quid a month bolt-on.
A quick test at www.dslreports.com/mspeed and a 100k test file reports a speed of 75kbps or so, so less than 10kB per second. However, http://www.bandwidthplace.com/speedtest/ reveals between 450kbps and 510kbps using their standard test. When this is running the 3.5G indicator appears, it doesn't for the first test.
So, it appears that for a SIM purchased in early Feb this year, I don't have a 128kbps limit set despite being on a "lower cost" tariff (yeah, right!) but the way in which the browser (Nokia built-in one) requests the data (or the way the web page presents it) seems to make the answer whatever it feels like.
So, I know this can work well, but equally it can be crap. Pay your money, take your chances!
Oh, BTW, where I am in Cambridge shows on O2's coverage map as not having HSDPA coverage at all. They must be tunnelling it in from somewhere else ;-)
I looked at getting Orange 3G recently, and was surprised when they told me that while I could use my phone for completely unlimited *browsing*, I could only *download* 30 Mb / month. I asked what the difference between browsing and downloading was, and they couldn't tell me. Riiiiight.
So instead I got an iPhone on O2. Proper unlimited, yay. (Or maybe O2 are just less open about their fair use level)...
Orange and Vodafone
I have been doing some extensive testing of 3G/UMTS/HDSPA for my company remote file transfer solution.
I saw above a number of people who mentioned a 3Gb fair usage policy on the Orange contracts. Specifically this is a datacard offer on the Business Everywhere solutions at £25 a month
Vodafone also do the same thing for £25 a month but with a 5Gb a month which is a cracking deal. The only downside with the Vodafone offer is that if you are out of a 3G area, the GPRS speeds suck. Orange's EDGE solution works surprisingly well in comparison.
I've just run the speed test posted above myself using an N81 on 02 3G, I get 572.45kbps (64KBps) so as you can guess I'm a pretty happy bunny :)
Just how I'm getting over the 384kbps limit I am unsure. Perhaps Newcastle is covered by HSDPA now?
I also get excellent coverage in Newcastle where many others especially orange are much poorer. However as I'm sure you all know coverage for individual networks varies dramatically across the country.
Incidentally, O2 web isn't unlimited, like other networks it imposes a fair use policy. 200MB for the basic service and 1GB for the Max package. Full details are at the following url:
Re: 3 mobile + laptop = 384k cap?
@Gil - are you connecting to your laptop via cable or bluetooth? If bluetooth then I would guess that your laptop's bluetooth connection doesn't support EDR, so that is your limiting factor.
Thanks for the link Dave - looks like I was basically liked to when I got my O2 contract (however I can quit with 30 days notice).
In O2's favour it doesn't say anything about billing you if you go over like Orange do, which I can live with... for now.
Roll on the 3G iphone
So if the 3G iphones is "launched in 60 days" as pundits suggested this week then to get it to work at a decent speed I'll have to put my tmobile card in it (after unlocking it of course). Cool. Well done O2.
A. Nerd Esq.
I didn't think that it was all that faster on the few occasions I've browsed, now I know why.
Ah well have mailed them and I'll be interested to see what they say.
"Just a side note, i wonder how many people that are defending this constant increase of pointless phone features are the same people that are slating Vista for exactly the same thing"
I'll first state that I'm not looking for an argument here, as some of the people on this thread seem to be super-charged with negative 'omg you moron' stances. I'm just puzzled as to what you mean by that comment? As far as I can tell you're simply saying:
"Do people who want a camera on their phone with mobile web access so they can (for example) upload pictures to Facebook, dislike Vista because it adds features which they don't want, whereas the features on their phone they do want?"
And that is: a) obvious, b) pointless.. Of course some people will like the excessive features included on their phone, and those same people just *might* not like some of the features included in Vista. I myself am exceedingly happy with my N95 - which is packed full of features. I myself, am also not a supporter of Vista as I think it's too bloated, isn't stable, and goes so far to being 'easy for a new user to use' that it makes it hard for an expert user to use.
Tell me if I'm wrong..
P.S. Anybody who wants to pick arguments with grammar etc, don't bother - I don't care if I haven't put a comma in the right place. :)
Get CS to email ABS support
I have just phoned CS and after trying to give me the run around she spoke to the Data something or other department and they told her to email ABS support and they would take the limit off my account.
I did however forget to ask how long this would take!
all you need
I'd like to point out that 128k is 2x64k. Since bill g says all we need is 64, 02 are actually offering twice all you need!
HSDPA for all
Contradicts O2's strategy in some other countries where they have upgraded customer accounts to support HSDPA speeds on normal tariffs to drum up revenue at extortionate per kb prices.
"o2 stink of death"
"o2 stink of death"
I think this is the best comment of today.
It's pretty poor that they offer two different kinds of service for, um, no reason.
This might help...
Thanks for emailing us about the limitation of the 3G services.
You'll need to call us on 08706 003 009 to discuss about the 3G network services and we'll transfer your call to our network investigation team. They'll be able to advise you better about the speed limit. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 08:00am to 06:00pm, Saturday and Sunday from 08:00am to 08:00pm. Calls are free of charge from an O2 Pay Monthly phone.
Calls from other mobile phone and landline will be charged at your telephone provider's published rates.
I'm sorry for any inconvenience that may have been caused and I appreciate your patience with this matter.
I am using an MDA Touch Plus and also a USB modem from T-Mobile. I live in the North and regularly travel to most parts of the UK on a weekly basis. I dumped my fixed home broadband in favour of T-Mobile's offering and have never looked back!
In my usage to-date I receive a consistent 1.8Mbps or above. I am told that T-Mobile's HSDPA is ready to be switched on in the next month or two and can't wait. Additionally I have read that their HSDPA population coverage will be 99% by 2009, 84% at present according to the advisor I spoke to in the shop.
I pay £6.38 per month for unlimited browsing on my phone and £15 per month for my USB modem which incidently comes with free WiFi. Great service. Never been told to stop using my phone because I am using too much data either.
I regularly test the speed of my devices and use www.speedtest.net
It's an interesting world!
Bye bye SlOw2
Well thanks to the link by Dave above I researched this and sure enough they lied to me when I got my SIM only contract.
Went in today to cancel (they have a 14 day cancel policy - I lasted 11 days) and they called customer service for me - I spoke to them and the woman who is trained to talk you out of leaving asked why I was leaving and I mentioned the 200Mb limit and the crippled 3G speed. Again she *insisted* that there was no limit on O2's Web bolt on, and that it truly was unlimited, but didn't know anything about speed.
I asked how it was I was looking at a print out from their site that clearly stated that the web bolt on had an AUP of only 200Mb. She attempted to try to tell me in terms of how many web pages and emails the typical person would use. I explained I am not a typical person and I only understand megabytes.
Eventually she put me on hold while she consulted with someone else. Came back on the phone and finally agreed that there was indeed an AUP and it was 200Mb, but 'nobody would ever need more than that'. I explained that I might do and besides that it was a matter of principle where I had thought I was buying something I was assured was actually unlimited but it's actually worse than Orange; also it's worse because the 3G speed is crippled to be slower than an iPhone (and that's saying something). I was told that allegedly 'only 5 people ever have gone over the limit'. I'm not surprised considering how slow your 3G is I said.
Cancelled it then straight over to T-Mobile who I was very pleased to find out now let you put their web'n'walk on a SIM only contract (new feature - it's not advertised yet, you have to ask.)
Speed difference on T-Mobile when browsing is quite something since getting used to SlOw2.
You mention that iPhone users using EDGE might be a bit smug about this slow 3g speed, but what happens on lauch of a 3g iPhone?
O2 Don't like me
Well I have been battling for 3 weeks to get my phone (Orbit2) upped from 128K to HSDPA speeds. I have had around 10 calls with O2 and they have called me back numerous times to say "your provisioning is being upped from 5 to 6 and will be active in the next 72 hours". It seems customer services does not speak to the network services department, or more like the network department ignores customer services emails. I pay £35/month and nothing has happened, except I've hung on the phone for 30 minutes at a time. It's like the old days of NTL-Hell. If I could return my phone and shift to Vodaphone I'd do it tomorrow. O2 are not good enough for data.
Fantastic! Useless tw*ts
As a freelance photographer, I have a Nokia N95 and a separate 3G Data card so I can wire my photographs in to picturedesks remotely. I explained my requirement when I arranged my contract, for which I pay an average of £90 per month, and I find that I'm capped at 128Kbps!!! (now I also find the data card they gave me doesn't even support EUL or HSUPA - but it's still annoying to find my corporate account is capped, when transfer speeds are essential to me (I mean, do they think I'm going to use the data card for chatting to my mates?)
Paris.. because she knows how to put a phone to good use.
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