O2 and Be broadband subscribers are reporting severe network slowdown in the evening and that some online games are unplayable, sparking rumours the pair have deployed bandwidth-throttling equipment. O2, which bought Be in 2006 before launching its own-branded packages on the same ADSL2+ network in late 2007, today blamed the …
Still better than much of the rest...
Yes, the evening performance is poor compared to the day, but in Be's defence their daytime performance is excellent (often seeing consistent download speeds in excess of 14Mbps) so when their evening performance drops to say 2Mbps it seems dramatic but is still actually much better than say BT, who used to be my ISP. On the BT 8megs service I rarely saw daytime speeds anything near 8Mbps, saw HUGE latency due to a large number of internal hops, and come evening the problems were actually worse than on Be, even though the day/evening comparison wasn't as dramatic.
I think Be need to start selling to more business customers, therefore getting some revenue for the unused daytime capacity and then investing this money into improving my evening perforance.
I sincerely hope Be manage to keep the edge they currently have, I have nothing for praise for their service (including customer service) and their prices at the moment. I can live with the current evening situation in my area and am glad to see they have plans to improve.
Man (unusually) not Outraged today
(Definately not a Be employee)
Have been getting this only recently (in the past week or so) when I've left a laptop grabbing stuff from usenet. I'm on the 16mb package, and after about 6pm, it can crawl to anything from 4mb - 7mb actual.
Was going to ring them and whine but looks like this is the issue! Fair play to them though, they're cheap as chips and I've had nil problems so far...
Full of Torrents
I think I remember all those people who where upset that Virgin was going to throttle their torrents saying they were going to leave and sign up with Be..
angry BE customer
i am a BE customer and to say things are bad is quite an uderstatement..pings in games between the hours of 6:00pm and 2:00am (prime gamer time) is over 200+ i used to get better pings in css with a 56k modem. also download speeds are reduced to under 1mbit between the afore mentioned hours.
also you mentioned the thread of 60 pages (which grows by 4 pages per hour lol) and i was going to say not single comment on the problems from a BE representative but that changed 5 mins ago when a staff member of BE said they where aware of the problem. but that is it. no solution or ETA just an ackowledgement which actualy took 3 days.
to be fair BE where superb at first but they must surely be aware of the amount of people they sign upand the amount their network can handle. overscription should not be an excuse as they know themselves their own limits. they have basicaly took on as many as they can handle and then a few more for money's sake and crossed their fingers and hoped the network overload could handle it. unfortunately it cant. it hasnt effected it slightly it has had such a drastic effect that BE will in the next month lose a lot of its customer base and surely drop own the ISP list. i know many users have requested mac codes and as soon as i find a 24 mbit umetered ISP i shall soon follow
Noticed problems this week also. Whilst P2P seems fine still streaming from sites (Youtube, Mogulus) is terrible unless I am able to leave it to buffer away for a while. Games were skippign about a bit online last night but I wasn't sure if that was my connection or not.
Still I can max out usenet at any time during the day if I needed to.
However much I love Be (and I do) I think they are doing some sort of throttling. My pings go from 40ms during the day to around about 100ms from 6PM until 1AM. This only started dramatically last Monday Evening (you would see a slight effect before but nothing so drastic). It seems a bit suspect that people from all over the country have seen their latency increase, all around the same time (early last week). Unless Be have taken on a load of new customers overnight then they're upto something.
Still though... better than Tiscali or Virgin Media, who I have used before. I've been nothing but ecstatic about my Be connection up until now...
Think Be's Customer Service is Great ?
Then have a look on their forums. While the quality of their Bulgarian call center was slightly better the last time I used it, the quality of service has generally been poor resulting in many complaints on the official forums. Oh and woe betide anyone placing a call through the web interface. With this method you can expect a 2 day response if you are lucky, and this normally just says your call has been allocated.
Fortunately the internet provision side of things is normally very good (I've not noticed a drop in performance in my area)
They are already addressing the problem
I got an email last week saying my service would be unavailable for 5 hours during one day for network infrastructure upgrades. I got a Speedtest speed of 16 Mbits/sec last night, which is near the maximum for my line.
You are still better off with Be than with a throttled virgin.
Another Be Customer
I was one of those that jumped from Vermin due to the throttling. As I live in The Middle Of Nowhere, Scotland, my 20+Mbps service is realistically about 5.5Mbps.
At this lowered speed, I'm not getting any further reductions. It's as good as I can expect out in the sticks.
glad I didnt move
Ive been with an entanet reseller for a while. Not the cheapest but I get 6Mbs all the time. I was going to move to BE on price alone (I wont get more than 7 or 8 even on ADSL 2 so it wasnt for speed). Glad I didnt.
Paris, glad I didnt with her either. Think of the diseases.
skewed logic somewhere
"O2 and Be broadband subscribers are reporting severe network slowdown in the evening and that some online games are unplayable, sparking rumours the pair have deployed bandwidth-throttling equipment"
that would seem to be a sign that they aren't using any network management. If they _were_ then presumably some services would run OK at the expense of others. as everything seems to be suffering equally, that's not the case
perhaps they need to start implementing throttling then? before the predictable mass of people jump on that and say "no, their infrastructure should be able to cope with what stupid customers erroneously think they are paying for when they aren't", it's pretty much a given that demand for bandwidth will rise to fill all available supply. So, _as well as_ presumably beefing up the network hardware where it's most overused, they should start prioritising certain traffic - gaming / voip / web, say, over other kinds - ftp / newsgroups / torrents.
realistically, given the relative bandwidth usage of those, that results in about a 5% drop in your bulk download speeds in return for everything else being usable
same old same old
ISPs providing good unrestricted performance get customers (especially heavy usage customers) flocking to them until they no longer provide good unrestricted performance.
I only used their web-based interface for 2 specific cases and one was fully resolved within 2 days and the other I had a progress update of the escalation within 2 days and a complete resolution within a week. Everything is relative and compared to other ISPs I've used (Virgin and BT) the 2-day turnaround is good.
For the record I'm a firm believer in Taffic Managament so long as it's done competently (does not affect latency and the bulk of users are largely unaffected) fairly and transparently. If my neighbour wants to download 24/7 I still want to be able to download the few things my wife and I watch each week. It's inevitable one of 3 things needs to happen:
1.) Heavy users pay a surcharge for peak usage
2.) Heavy users need to be throtteled or capped in some way (so long as this is fair and doesn't affect low and moderate users too much)
3.) All subscribers will be adversley affected by a minority of p2p and download addicts
That said, I think its essential ISPs disclose full details of any traffic management, not only is it fair to the paying customers, but it will also help the ISP by preventing panic and scaremongering amongst paranoid users who become convinced that their ISP is out to get them!
They've Been Great For Us
While being a student we've been using Be with this being our third house with them and I really can't complain. For example our router had been acting up badly (hardware issue), following a phone call we had a new router at the door 2 days later.
To be honest I wouldn't be able to tell if it's Be or our house that would cause any slow down for me. With 5 students in a house its heavily used.
No Problems Here...
No Problems Here, wondering if this affects customers On Be enabled exchanges or customers who are resold BT wholesale/AN Other stuff????? do Be do that?
I just signed up for Be last week, moving from Nildram (who have been going downhill for years, sadly)... I hope they get this sorted.
Be* are too cheap
Many years ago, I was a customer of Pipex (back when they were considered decent). I paid around £45 for 2Mbps ADSL.
Now, I'm with Be, and I pay around £24 for a connection that runs at between 13 and 16 Mbps. Over the last week, the pings to popular and well-known UK-based gaming services have been atrocious at peak times. So much so that I simply cannot play.
Be may well be over subscribed, and this is their fault. However, they position themselves as a superior service and, as such, shouldn't really be selling to every torrenting Tom, Dick or Harry for bargain prices.
I would be willing to pay around £65 a month for a decent, unlimited, ADSL2+ service from a company that doesn't frantically boost its subscribers and then wonder why everything is slowing to a crawl. That equals 2 and a bit Be Pro subscribers or 3 Be Unlimited subscribers.
So, who else here would happily pay a premium for decent service?
"If my neighbour wants to download 24/7 I still want to be able to download the few things my wife and I watch each week"
I'm a firm believer in no traffic management. If a company is charging you money for a product, you should receive that product. Not that product sometimes and a lesser product at others.
Yes, I'm a heavy user. That's why I'm with Be in the first place. Great price, great speeds, no caps.
When your network can't provide this, upgrade it. Don't just ask your customers to bend over and get shafted. Don't turn around and say "I know what we offered, but you can't actually have what you're paying for" to "a minority of p2p and download addicts"
The trouble is, I can't even threaten to leave Be as I don't know anyone anywhere near as good as them.
Here's to no traffic shaping in the future, hey?
An unhappy Be Customer
My internet connection is terrible in the evenings (5pm-12am) and all day at weekends. I get pings of over 100ms and less than 1Mbit download speeds. when it's normally pings of 20ms and download speeds of around 7Mbit.
The worst thing about all this is that Be are not communicating with their customers. If they said there is a problem that is going to be fixed I'd be happy but they're not really saying that it's a major issue when it clearly is.
I was going to recommend Be and affiliate for them on my website but no longer is that going to happen! Very up-happy indeed!
Look at this site for pings for Be: http://pings.gamecommunity.co.uk/cgi-bin/smokeping.cgi?target=Europe.UK.BE
Better than others..
It's not nice to have congestion issues, but Be's been better in my experience than many other providers - and for £17.50 a month, quite cheap, too. We did have an issue a few months ago with slow speeds and frequent disconnections, but that was sorted by bringing up a fault with BT and having them replace some damaged cabling outside the house (went from 3.5Mbps to 6Mbps as a result, and it's much more stable now).
Go Be!, please don't ruin it like most other ISP's do...
re Jubal Harshaw
Me, I dont even care too much about the speed 4mbps + will do me, but I do want a genuinly low connection. Not found anybody that good, so get it for free of sky.
I heard a fruit lorry crashed into a sugar lorry near the NOC creating Jams.
I miss Bulldog. Gutted they arent available at home. Yes they had the worst customer service known to man, but by god they didnt give a shit what you did. My usage logs from those days are astronomical.
Never thought I'd be moaning about the good old days when it came to internet speeds.
Slowdowns? What Slowdowns?
Not sure what everyone's shouting about - I'm on their 24Mb service, and still get 1.35MBps at any time of the day (was doing it only last night). I also download a fair amount (>3GB pm) so I'm fairly sure there's no throttling going on, as I'd have noticed something....
Seriously Pissed off Be Customer!!!
For the last month I can about 1-20kb download speeds! And thats only every few seconds, between that time I get nothing!
It has however made me realise that I spend too much time online.
No probs for me
Over in East London. So far at least. Hope it stays that way!
Just like old times
Thanks for this article OS2 and BeOS.
Still OK for me
Had some trouble in the autumn – which coincided with some equipment failures – but service is back up to scratch for me now. Still cheaper and much faster across the board than any other provider.
I'm in Derby. Don't know where the trouble is located – but it's worth bearing in mind that noone goes to online forums to say how good things are. Only to complain! (And I'm guilty of that too.)
No problems here
Working as speedily as every in sunny Cheshire.
hmm slow p2p now
Well to follow on from my earlier post for the first time ever i'm not maxing my line out on newsgroups. Fluctuating wildly between 350 and 550KB/s rather than the steady 750KB/s. Line isn't slowing down as i'm still browsing pretty quick, usually maxxing out on newsgroups kills any other net tasks.
Still even with the congestion it's around 20 times better than the moderatey of ISPs
Be/O2 do not artificially throttle. The important word there is artificially. Every real-world system has a maximum bandwidth limit and, if extra transport bandwidth isn't brought in, there will always be a load level at which latency suddenly shoots up. My latency goes from around 28ms to 100ms in the space of 15 minutes, although spookily, as I write this it has just dropped back down to the daytime baseline again. My theory is that as their core system has saturated, it is sending data via a (long distance) temporary backup path.
This is no excuse for the appalling lack of communication though. Before the O2 takeover, there were regular comments from the Be staff. These seem to have totally ceased now. Maybe this is the point when Be/O2 "Jumped the shark".
No Complaints Here
I'm an o2 premium customer. Just ran a speed test, 11.4 meg download, 1.1 meg upload, 28 ms ping at 7.45pm. Not much slower than at 4 in the morning.
Never had any real congestion problems (I'm in central Scotland), only the odd DNS issue and the general slow down last year when their backbone was cut through by blundering contractors in Yeo Street.
I live "in the sticks" (Holmfirth) and my line only sync's at 5.8Mb/s down and 1.3Mb/s up. I can download at 640Kb/s at any time of day or night without exception. I'm not a gamer, and as such don't investigate the latency on my connection as a matter of course but sites do load snappily which wouldn't be the case if I were experiencing some of the hiseoudly high ping times other people are reporting (I can currently PING www.google.co.uk at an average of 130ms @ 20:40). I'm personally convinced that Be aren't traffic shaping.
I like their service and the fact that I have a control panel where I can adjust the SNR on my line and turn on/off fastpath endears them to me greatly. In my experience they are a reliable as Zen (my previous ISP) and the price is right, too. Customer service isn't as good as Zen, sure, but I never need them - reliability is rock-solid. In addition, their generous upstream bandwidth means that I can use high definition video conferencing with work. I recommend them to anyone, based on my own experiences.
I'll throttle utorrent to 50% when I get home if that helps?
After downloading 2.1 Terabytes of -ahem "linux distros" and "copyright free HD Content" ;-)over the past 6 months I think I'll let somone else have a go on the t'interweb in Leeds.
Still £5 a month for 16Mbit (actual speed) on O2 staff discount, you cant go wrong!
On a performance note, it was really good but it has seemed poorer recently, '360 lagging a LOT more, page requests timing out etc, (and thats while theres no download activity)
Pass me my Nomex coat for the flames, Im off to buy a nice big NAS box to cope with my usage.
"We do not throttle speeds on our network"
"We do not throttle speeds on our network"
Maybe they should? I'm all for net neutrality, but given not enough bandwidth to go around, if a few people pulling 16mbits/sec 24/7 and the rest are only using it during peak time, I think throttling those few during peak time would be OK (this shouldn't be INSTEAD of upgrades, but a nice stopgap until the upgrades are done.) Personally, when I've been generating heavy traffic I wait overnight for it to finish anyway, I'd have no problem with it slowing down a bit during some peak times if it meant I wasn't hosing people's games.
On the other hand, I've read the argument that for some networks it cost as much or more to install a throttler than it would to just install an adequate network. In which case they better spend on upgrades instead.
80page thread you say....
Maybe you should look at the story over at ADSL24 (Entanet) Their problems began in November last year with sub 1mb speeds in this 60 page thread
Which would of continued if not closed by the Mods.
The fiasco continues after the switchover to IPStream Connect in this 120 page thread. http://adsl24.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=6256
Mickeytakers wrecked my isp (repeat until TM is everywhere)
Wrt "switching to a backup network" in another comment: When the utilisation of any resource (bandwidth, processor, memory) anywhere in the network gets sufficiently near 100%, queues can quickly form there, and that's where your latency increase comes from, not necessarily from switching to a backup network. What makes this worse is that although classic TCP apps might see packet loss and automagically slow down, the apps that often cause the congestion, the bulk data transfer streaming/P2P apps, don't play nice with TCP congestion control.
ISPs that have invested in properly configured traffic management kit can cope with things like that without causing visible effects on time-critical and interactive traffic, ISPs without traffic management are relying on peak time congestion (or tariffs) to drive customers away, which isn't exactly a recipe for happy customers unless your tariffs are structured so the mickeytakers never came in anyway (AAISP and Zen I'm looking at, and thanking, you, but there will be others).
Back to mickeytakers: find me an ISP, any ISP, that offers an "unbelievably good" deal for the tiny moronity of megaheavy users and 6-12 months later (if that) I'll show you an ISP that's disappointing the vast majority of its customers, unless they've deployed some kind of congestion management (aka traffic management). It doesn't matter if they're a BTwoolsale reseller, or an LLU ISP with their own network, bandwidth (and kit) costs money, and there's a tiny moronity of mickeytakers whose usage is way beyond what's fair and reasonable on any affordable broadband tariff, whose usage patterns screw it up for the rest if left unmanaged.
There's also a question of whether any ISP should ever advertise "unlimited", but that is a separate discussion altogether.
Is it localised or is it across all O2/Be?
Would have been nice if there had been some actual analysis in the article.
For example, when the problem occurs does it affect everybody on O2/Be? Or is it only in certain areas (in which case, who knows which areas are affected?)
Like a few others here, I agree that cases like this can demonstrate the value of traffic management done right - *if* it's a problem across O2. If it's localised to certain exchanges or exchange groups, TM in general isn't necessarily the answer, but more bandwidth might be.
Anybody know which applies, 'cos I was getting ready to move to O2 and to recommend it to a silver surfer in the family?
Wrt Enta: What's happened to them couldn't possibly have been predicted after they started offering bargain-basement tariffs with a 300GB/month off peak allowance. Oh no. About as unpredictable as what's happened to the bancasinos recently (hint: in both cases, a few people predicted -with numerical evidence- that trouble would follow but the greedies didn't want to know, they wanted to make their sales numbers for the month/quarter/year and sod what happens after that).
As nice as it is that Be/O2 are unbundling exchanges they seem to be missing a few. Where I live in Torquay they have enabled two exchanges and also a few other exchanges in the local area (Paignton, Brixham, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth, Exeter). It seems as though they missed one out, the exchange I'm on in Torquay.
I guess at the moment though I might actually be lucky. Looks like I'll be sticking with Enta for the forseeable future, at least until they give me my Mac code (ironically I was going to move to O2 Access until my local exchange was enabled).
Be* are great. Consistent speeds, very reliable and very inexpensive.
If you want to hear complaints, it's Enta.net's customers you should be speaking to.
Now there's a story!!!
Overstretched and they know it
In Southampton at least O2 aren't taking new customers on several exchanges - their availability checker says you can only get "O2 access" which is a pricey re-sell of BT's service on both the Shirley and Southampton exchanges... which is odd as I've had "propper" O2 for the last year from the Shirley exchange!
Wish they'd just fess up to being overloaded....
I'm an O2 customer in London...
... and I've been having this major slowdown in the evenings for weeks. Last night I kept getting disconnected so I'm not sure if this is a sign of an even more serious problem or a sign that some engineering work was being done on the line. Either way it's good to know I'm not the only one with the problem and that it might get sorted out at some point. I'm not going to complain too much as it's still a pretty good service on the whole and I'm only paying £7.50 a month.
so for those of us
So for those of us willing to pay premium prices - say £50 / month - for properly maintained ADSL2+ service that isn't going to drop like a stone come 6pm, who should we go to. I have 7 months left on my Be contract but after that if there is a better provider who spends money on maintaining their network, I want to "be there" (sorry)
Srsly tho, can anyone recommend ISPs who can offer a reliable fast service?
'Secret' DNS server
Recently finding that speeds were way down I logged into my account on Be and discovered that the scrolling news ticker in the top right of the screen had a message to update the DNS on my BeBox... After updating the primary DNS (leaving secondary un-changed) on my router with the proffered IP; et voila! CONSTANT 20M speeds, even at 'peak' times!
I suppose Be aren't making too much noise about this new DNS server but rather are keeping it in reserve for the more vocal and/or preferred customers until the new bandwidth is in. (I hope, therefore, that not too many people read this comment as a mass exodus onto the new IP would probably spoil my currently shit-hot connection!)
"Fair and reasonable" my left buttock
"there's a tiny moronity of mickeytakers whose usage is way beyond what's fair and reasonable on any affordable broadband tariff,"
And what pray constitutes "fair and reasonable"? That is the fundamental flaw in the "fair and reasonable" argument. Its is patently undefinable. Its what is fair and reasonable according to *you*, and your bandwidth requirements.
So I have a 24mbit line. So I *legally* purchase 2 BD films, to be delivered via IP. Thats 80GB, and pulled down in a day. While I'm at work. On top of that my family watches streaming TV. And makes video calls. Now I decide to pull down some linux distros, say 37GB of Redhat stuff. legally. Is my usage fair?
Is a monthly 40GB cap on an 8MB ADSL line fair? Given that represents about 0.5% of the bandwidth (2.5TB). It is according to Orange. I'd love to be able to sell a product or service advertised as one thing, but only have to deliver 0.5% of it.
Is 40GB fair on an ADSL2 serrvice, where the monthly bandwidth is approx 8.5TB!
So for all the "fair an reasonable" advocates, I''l reiterate the challenge once again. Put your money where your mouth is... exactly what is "fair and reasonable"? In specific amounts, not nebulous figure-free platitudes.
A tiny bit of queueing theory
Response times are not linearly related to load, they follow an exponential curve. This looks linear up to about 70% of the line's capacity, then it takes a fast upward hike until it reaches infinity at 100% line usage. (the start point varies by protocol, among other things, but 70% is a good rule of thumb)
This, in real world terms means that a small increase in traffic can result in a huge increase in response (ping) times, e.g. a 5% increase (80 - 85%) in load could result in a 1000% increase in response times. (20 -200 mS)
O.K.that might be the reason Be are suddenly suffering from problems when for years everything has been rosy, but it is not an excuse. Any comms engineer worth his/her salt knows this and shoud be monitoring for it: your line reaches 65% capacity - order a new line. In Be's case, I get the impression that it might not just be lines, but hardware capacity as well. (It follows the same rules) This is harder to check (you rely on the vendor's specs - greater works of fiction then War and Peace) so they do have an excuse there.
I am happy with Be, they seem to do things rather than talk about it (see my previous post). I was with BT since 512kbps cost £40/month until about a year ago so I know what long term commitment means, and I think I will be with Be a long time. I don't even have to think about speed/response times any more. I just wish their wireless router (BeBox) was better.
"Fair and reasonable"
Me again, since someone asked about "fair and reasonable".
Never mind my opinion, go look at the user ratings for AAISP and Zen (I mentioned them in the previous post), then go look at their tariffs. IDnet are also highly rated by their users, and priced similarly, maybe there are others too.
Their customers seem to think those are fair and reasonable combination of usage quotas, tariffs, and service quality.
What do these guys have in common? They're all focusing on customers prepared to pay for a decent quality of service, and their tariffs explicitly discourage mickeytaking. They are also ISPs who for better or worse get their national connectivity via BTwholesale, and that makes up a huge proportion of their bandwidth costs, and forms the narrowest (because most expensive) bit of their network.
You can go and look at their tariffs but I'll tell you now they're not the ISP for anyone who thinks 80GB in a day is reasonable, and (because they're largely BTwholesale-based) they're not necessarily the ISP of choice for anyone who wants ADSL2+ (which isn't yet widely available via BT, courtesy of their much delayed much overhyped 21CN rollout).
80GB of anything in a day isn't fair and reasonable if you're going to do it more than occasionally. If you want that quantity of data in a day more than occasionally you're not really welcome on any consumer broadband service, whatever verbage the ISP may have used when you bought it.
300GB a month off peak on a BTwholesale service makes zero sense (that's Enta and their resellers).
"for those of us willing to pay premium prices - say £50 / month - for properly maintained ADSL2+ service"
The LLU providers are largely on a race for the cheapest (as are many/most of their customers) so you might as well rule them out. The BTwholesale-based providers largely can't/won't offer ADSL2+ because the much overhyped 21CN is geographically restricted, late, and/or broken. You could try AAISP or (less likely as no routine 21CN yet afaik) Zen (yes, those two again).
It's a shame Metronet don't exist any more. They had an interesting business model and seemed able to deliver a decent QoS for their customers. But they too had tariffs where the more you use the more you pay. See a pattern here yet?
All good here...
...in a small-ish Market Town in East Herts :)
I am on O2, and the average ping time for the last half hour, (21:00-21:30), 17.9ms. Can't say I've seen any performance issues at all, since joining the service.
Also , a big thumbs up for the call centre chaps (in Glasgow) who gave me some good advice about what the service would and would not offer me if I were to take it up, and they were spot on (mostly, advice about the smtp port 25 outbound blocking stuff).
Other friends on O2 have had fantastic service also, and a real 6-8Mb so far at all times, for only £12.50 a month.
Highly recommended! :)
P.S. @Secret DNS Server guy, I personally recommend pointing DNS at OpenDNS anyway, who always have a very speedy service, and have never yet had any service impacting problems that I've spotted, unlike most ISPs I've ever had!
No need for throttling...
... because my O2 Broadband is like treacle at all times (in Rotherhithe).
PH because she does need throttling
No problems here either
My connection is the same as ever - 18Mbps down, 2Mbps up according to Speedtest.net.
Be emailed me a few days ago to say my exchange was having maintenance, but before and after that maintenance, everything has been hunky dorey.
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