back to article Orange simplifies data by capping at 30MB

Orange has launched its unmetered-mobile-data tariff for the UK - but unexpectedly capped it at 30MB a month. The tariff is available to pre-paid as well as contract customers, and costs a fiver for evening and weekend use, or £8 for anytime unmetered data access. Only it's not as unmetered as one might hope. When we covered …

COMMENTS

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  1. S

    That sucks

    Everybody go to T-Mobile!

    Seriously though, that's pretty lame, I don't see how they can reasonably justify capping it at 1/30th of what T-Mobile offers with their Web 'n' Walk package!

    Data is the way forward, they've just made a serious error. If there was any reason for me to get a 3G phone - it would have been data.

  2. Alan

    Unfair advertising?

    The terms "unlimited" and "unmetered" are bandied around by ISPs to attract customers, but surely, if there are limits, it cannot be unlimited, and if it isn't unlimited, it cannot possibly be unmetered, otherwise they wouldn't know you had reached/passed your limit..

    Isn't it about time the ISPs were brought in line with all other sales and supply companies concerning advertising? I'm very surprised people haven't taken some of these companies to court for misleading advertising.

  3. Paul

    I tried ASA

    I tried reporting T-Mobile for their "unlimited" data tariff to the ASA

    the ASA basically told me that because it was only TMobile's site that said unlimited, it didn't count as an advert and therefore they'd do nothing about it!

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pathetic... Sod Off Orange!

    That is ridiculous and I would urge customers not to waste their money in going on this pathetic plan, It just goes to show these companies have no clue what the customer wants or what the demands for this in the future will be.

    When you bring out a new plan your meant to set it above all the rest not make it worse and look like a bag of sh@%

    The ASA NEEDS to stop these companies misleading customers by saying services are UNLIMITED when they ARE NOT. Regardless where its advertised its still FALSE ADVERTISING therefore the ASA should do their JOB!

    Dump Orange and go to T-Mobile its a much better deal for web and walk!!!!!!!

  6. Nigel

    Switch To T-Mobile!

    Thats really stretching the term 'Unlimited' way beyond its remit. What does the ASA think of the use of this term for a mere 30MB. I am with T-mobile on their Flext+WebnWalk Plus accout. For £38/mnth I get 300 mins (or equiv in txts), and 3GB/mnth with no restrictions bar no voip (need their WebNWalk Pro for that).

    I use it every day on the train between stirling and edinbugh with a laptop via bluetooth, enjoy 3G HSDPA coverage for 80% of the trip and GPRS for the rest.

    I transfer approx 2GB/mnth in total. The same would cost me £1000/mnth or something stupid with voda/O2/Orange etc.

    Why cant the other operators do something similar - T-mobile has mopped up all the serious data users.

    3's idea of mobile data is 1GB/mnth, with an AUP that says you cant use it with a laptop via bluetooth etc.

    I have a friend, also with t-mobile thats on their 10GB/mnth WebnWalk pro account. He's ditched his home broadband, and his landline and just uses the phone for everything, seeing downloads of around 1.4Mbits and uploads of around 300Kbit. No good if you are into games though since the ping is high at 200-300mS.

    Nigel

  7. Dan

    unlimited petition

    Another reason to sign the 'unlimited' peition:

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Unlimited-ADSL/

  8. Matthew

    if you think you have it bad...

    Vodafone NZ... the flat rate is 10c per kb... nasty to recieve a $200 bill at the end of the month because you had to download an email or 2...

    They invest so much $$ in 3g etc and try to recoup it by charging extortionist prices... then wonder why they don't get a return on their investments.

  9. Andy Tyzack

    The futures far from orange

    Im sorry did I read this right, you did say 30megabytes?

    Are orange having a girraffe?????

    I have tmobiles web and walk and I have to say that I havent even come close to using its 1024 megabytes a month, and even if I did, I know I wouldnt be charged, just get a slapped wrist and told not to do it again, lets face it, to download 1gb a month on gprs ud have to spend some considerable time using your mobile.

    Simply put, as orange network is mostly made up of barbed wire on totem poles and coathangers on the top of buildings (the signal is total rubbish), Its all their network will be able to handle.

    So here we are looking at orange to join the ranks of diabolical companies such as NTL, BT & The Dixons group.

    Even their voice plans are total junk.

    Apart from their terrible customer services, poor or non existant technical support, the dreaded orange home screen, and the message you get nearly every time you ring 150,

    "I'm SORRY, but THIS service is currently unavailable, PLEASE TRY AGAIN" here is yet another reason to avoid orange like the black death.

    Im not a tmobile fan boy but simply put, they have some idea about what customers want.

    Long live T-mobile!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Voice vs data costs

    30MB at £8 = 38kB/p. Assuming that phone voice data is 4kHz / 8bit / 2:1 compressed that's the equivalent 6p/min for voice calls. That's not so bad.

  11. Pete

    Infuriating

    I spoke to Retentions not one month ago, who upgraded me to a w950i for free. This is a great phone, but I was sold on it at the prospect of high-speed unlimited downloads on evenings and weekends.

    It's well known that "unlimited" means unlimited access. but I was specifically mis-sold this package and I'm not a happy customer - I'm more than willing to sell the phone to buy out of this contract and move to ANY other provider.

  12. Joe

    Wrong tree with ASA

    It's more likely to be a job for Trading Standards than the ASA since the product/service being offered does not match the description

  13. Chris Matchett

    Walled garden

    Does Orange offer a walled garden WAP site and does it cost anything to browse that?

    PS Vodafone is 120MB not 130MB

  14. Dave

    article request

    Could someone at el reg please do an article outlining good/bad data rates? I think I speak for a few people when I say we'd like to know who offers the best rates so we can move. I suspect it'll be T-Mobile, but an article may point out to the others that people are starting to be bothered by this.

    cheers

    Dave

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Low Life

    How can this company still operating? This company should not even permited to be in business.... what a joke....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair Use is not the same as capped.

    I think there seems to be a general misconception of the difference between 'capped' and 'fair use'. Essentially, 'capped' means that the company _will_ stop your service or start charging you once you breach the cap. A 'fair use' policy simply means that the company _can_ charge you if it feels your use is detrimentally affecting the service that others receive.

    At the end of the day, there is a fixed amount of bandwidth to be shared between all customers. Either the ISP or mobile operator keep buying more and more bandwidth (and putting up their charges to pay for it); or they look to manage the usage of those using Bitorrent and the like 24/7. As a regular user of data (i.e. bit of browsing, email, and downloading, some video streaming and the occaisional p2p usage), I'd rather the latter.

    So, the unlimited usage is just that. So long as you don't start taking the piss.

  17. Craig Collier

    this does indeed suck

    I totally agree with the comments above.

    I'm on 3, and just signed up for the X-Series unlimited internet for £5 a month. I really won't use the data on my phone for anything other than gmail and msn, perhaps a bit of browsing for train times etc, and i guess thats what they want us to use it for. To be honest, at the kind of speeds you get over GPRS/3G (around 100kbps on average) it's gonna take a lot to hit these limits anyway.

    Do people really spend that much time staring at a 2" screen, when for £20 a month you get unlimited downloads on a real broadband connection?

    a step in the right direction, but false advertising for sure.

  18. gautam

    Doomed from the start

    Isnt it a repeat of the much touted WAP (where they wanted to charge by the Kilobyte!) and no one took it up in serious numbers? Corporate greed at its best (worst?) scenario. Guess what, they will say demand is not yet there or market is not mature enough and gloss over it.

  19. Jags

    Shame on Orange!!!

    30MB/Month...what a Ripoff...

    I use 30MB in may be 15 minutes on my Cingular 8525(in Los Angeles)...

    Guess EU needs a law or something to mandate that unlimited means UN-LIMITED. Period.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad Customer Service

    I telephoned Orange on Friday to take out this new 'unlimited' plan and had a very unhelpful customer service representative who then passed me on to his manager however he was worse! Arguementative and even more unhelpful!

    I did however speak to a nice woman on the Saturday who has added the current 30MB package to my account (I was previously on the 4MB/month for £4 bundle so 30MB for £8 was better), she advised me that the unlimited anytime was coming in the summer??

    If I wasn't at the beginning of a new contract I would be looking forward to moving to T-Mobile!!!

    Come on Orange - sort yourselves out!!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just another reminder that the Orange has gone rotten

    I've only ever been with Orange. It's been a 10 year relationship and it's basically been based on inertia for the past 5. What was once a great brand with fantastic customer service is now a total joke. I knew some of the people in chage of the UK ops a few years ago and in many ways they they knew the wheels were coming off. Investment is down and they are seen as a cash cow for France Telecom. Time to move before you get ripped of further?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't offer what you can't sell

    To the person who said that it's unreasonable to expect "unlimited" 24/7 bandwidth-hogging downloads at current prices; I'd agree with you, except that it's the companies themselves dangling the unlimited-use carrot in front of consumers, burying the truth in weasel-worded "fair use" policies.

    I don't have a problem with open and reasonable limits on downloading, but such services shouldn't be advertised as something they aren't. Claiming 30MB/month is unlimited *is* "taking the piss".

    And Pete, it's not "well known that 'unlimited' means unlimited access". I'm guessing that the telcos know *exactly* how the average consumer will interpret "unlimited" and are exploiting this supposed misunderstanding.

  23. Chad H.

    Err, Paul

    You may want to take a walk.......... Its out on Billboards too.

  24. Shaun

    Spot the Bull

    Orange's latest Newsletter is entitled 'Spot the Bull' the bull being Derek.

    Looks like everyone out there is beginning to realise they have just spotted Derek.

    What a joke, how can Orange believe they are competive with such a pathetic offering.

    Unbelievably even Vodafone are now offering better data.

  25. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  26. mrben

    glad to be a former Orange customer...

    Without wishing to sound like another T-Mobile fanboy.......

    I was a long-time Orange customer (8+ years) but eventually became totally fed up with their extortionate data charges. Took one look at T-Mobile's Web'n'Walk plans and realised that switching was a no-brainer.

    The Orange call center person went through the standard script to try and persuade me to stay, and for reasons I cannot fathom she sounded genuinely surprised when I explained that Orange were simply not offering competitive plans for data-heavy users. Especially for sad bastards like me who need to be umbilically connected to the datacentre 24/7 while out and about.

    For ~£56 a month with T-Mobile I get £180 worth of calls/texts and a 10GB data limit (which I'll probably never exceed), modem use is allowed, plus I can use TruPhone/Fring VoIP on my non operator-hobbled N95. Happy days...

    And another thing, the T-Mobile call centre staff appear to be considerably more cheerful and better informed than the Orange lot.

  27. Tom Chiverton

    Where are the details ?

    And Orange's site still doesn't have details of it - although you can add the new bundle online yourself, http://www2.orange.co.uk/servlet/Satellite?pagename=OUKPersonal&c=OUKService&cid=1096023564495&mid=1137070320264&t=Service&tab=2 still doesn't list it.

  28. Law

    Tmobile

    Yup - I am gonna sounds like a fanboy too now but t-mobile have completely outclassed Orange on this... I remember being worried moving to TMobile (especially a contract) from an Orange account, but I have to say that the switch was well worth it. There was once a time when Orange were the operator of choice, but everybody I know who scoffed at my TMobile contract have now ditched Orange and moved onto either 3 or TMobile...

    When are ISP's and mobile operators going to realise - by misleading customers who are actually after "unlimited" services and locking them into contract's that mean they wont be able to get what they want from someone else for at least a year, it just means they will get negative advertising from that person and anybody who takes that person seriously (and everybody listens to the techy!!). They are just biting the hand that feeds them!! :) I hope Orange live to regret this one!!

  29. Pete

    Not as infuriated

    I've been on to Orange all morning - managed FINALLY to speak to someone in their Data Lab. The Unlimited Evenings and Weekend package has a 1GB fair use allowance (guessing you could exceed this after 1am) but the 30MB cap is imposed to stop the connection being used as a modem. If you want modem usage included, they recommend Access Max (£88.13 a month!).

    So now we have 2 caps - 1GB if you use the connection from your phone directly - 30MB if it's used as a modem.

    So I'm mildly satiated for now.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair Usage?

    I like this bit:

    Orange confirmed the limit to us, and noted that it has other tariffs with greater "fair-use" limits.

    well if its fair use surely it will be the same on all the plans? This is a 30mb plan, pure and simple.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Technophobe Regulators To Blame!

    I'm pretty miffed about the string of misleading "unlimited" and "umetered" deals. Personally I blame the regulatory infrasturcture for not being geared up to deal with such issues. I talked to my local trading standards on a web hosting deal and got the impression that whenever I mentioned anything approaching technical lingo, e.g. these shysters are misleading people and ripping me off for my WEB SERVER the officer I was dealing with tuned out.

    We need a hi-tech trading standards and ASA body ASAP!

  32. Alex

    Umetered=Unlimited?

    Not that 30MB is anything but embarrassingly ikkle but isn't it there a difference in the terms unmetered/unlimited? Unmetered referring to how you pay (i.e. a flat fee rather than per minute/byte). Unlimited referring to your usage...limits (i.e. none).

    Admittedly I couldn't find details of Orange's offer but El Reg reports that it's advertised as unmetered, not unlimited. A number of the comments seem to express rage on reading the word "unmetered" and hearing the word "unlimited".

    But yeah, 30 MB is loooooooow.

  33. Richard Gaywood

    I'm confused, Pete

    How do you conclude it's 1gb from the phone and 30mb from a modem? Surely it's 1Gb after 7pm and 30mb before it? That's a very different proposition. For example, last Friday when I had the day off and got lost around the lanes due to an unexpected road closure it would have been very nice to have had Google Maps on my SPV M3100. But sadly that would have cost me an arm and a leg, so it was not to be.

    It's very easy to run up 30Mb without considering modem use. Apart from stuff like Google Maps, even just regular POP or IMAP email polling adds up -- as does loading normal web pages, as my SPV does my default, rather than WAP ones. These tariffs are just plain misguided, but sadly I have 9 months to run on my current Orange contact. I suspect T-Mobile will be getting my business after that.

  34. AJ

    Abuse Of The Word 'Unlimited'

    Its really that simple, companies are abusing the word unlimited and misleading its customers by advertising a service is unlimited when the top and bottom of it all is its not whether it be capped, throttled or have a fair usage policy...

    This is what needs to be sorted out in this country to make things clear and simple for the consumer. Oranges offer is crazy and they should go tits up they are that pathetic they have no idea what customers want, their network is a shambles, customer service is rotten and the company revolves around GREED!!

    How they are still in business and have customers is beyond me.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data plans appear to have been removed from Orange web site.

    I arranged for Orange to migrate me on to the "unlimited" data bundle as of the first of June. When they phoned me on Friday to confirm, and happened to mention the 30MB cap, I laughed and suggested they leave me on my existing bundle.

    I then thought there may have been a misunderstanding, and that the cap was actually per day as opposed to per month, so phoned back, only to be disappointed.

    I also checked the Orange web site and confirmed the £8/30MB plan under additional services, once I selected a basic plan.

    I've just checked the web site again and see that the data plans are not listed at all (with the exception of an email bundle and even more expensive travel data plans).

    Interesting that they've been removed.

  36. Morely Dotes

    This is clearly a matter of literacy.

    The marketers at Orange obviously don't understand the difference between "fair ue" and "fare use."

  37. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    Not just Orange

    I got a marketing flyer from O2 the other week touting their 'great value' offers on data tariffs. Knowing about T-Mobile's data add ons I was tempted to write back and suggest that the figures they were asking were a joke, not an offer but I decided not to as they simply wouldn't have 'got it'.

    So if you think this insult from Orange is bad, don't go near O2 !

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look at the big picture

    They are simply trying to make bits appear "scarce" so that they can charge higher prices for them. Don't let them get away with it!

  39. Carl Pearson

    Apples & Oranges

    Hi,

    I live in the US, so don't have to deal with a lot of the stuff you folks talk about. My broadband connection runs a tad over 22 of your pounds a month, and I get around 6 megs downstream. They cap uploads at a very low number, around 450K, I guess to minimize sharing.

    My cell phone is through Deutsche Telecom, as I have a SideKick. It's OK, but the internet service is a bit spotty. I like the fact that I have no roaming charges, no matter where in the country I may go.

    What I'm curious about, though, is how you folks feel about Orange in general. See, I do freelance computer work, routers, commercial stuff, telephone systems, whatnot, and they've become the parent company for the group with whom I do most of my work.

    Ever since opening their big call center in Cairo, I've noticed a drastic decline in both technical expertise and motivation in keeping the customer satisfied. I was just wondering if you end users are experiencing the same thing.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No OUK call centres in Cairo!

    @Carl Pearson: Orange UK have no call centres in Cairo. The Cairo call centre belongs to Mobinil, a mostly-owned subsidiary of Orange Group. I presume that, in the US, you're doing "most of your work" for Equant (now Orange Business Systems)? Any "drastic decline in technical expertise" you might have noticed has nothing to do with call centres and everything to do with getting rid of vast numbers of technical staff!

  41. Kjetil

    Impressed..

    I really can't see how they can charge this much.

    Up here (Norway, which isn't known to be very cheap) I'm with Telenor (not the cheapest telecom, but they have the best coverage). GPRS/UMTS is £1.67/MB, HOWEVER, they have capped the MAX CHARGE per day at £0.83 for WAP and £4.18 for mobile internet. No matter how much you download, they'll never charge more than that. They also have an unlimited package for £46/month, where you can download as much as you can cope with no extra charge whatsoever. No fair usage policy, no cap, no hidden fees, modem use encouraged.

  42. Nigel

    The ASA's response

    I did complain about a similar advert from BT in March.

    That ASA response in full:

    "YOUR COMPLAINT ABOUT BT

    Thank you for your complaint about the above advertiser. I note from your comments that you believe that the advert is misleading as it offers free internet access and the small print states that it is only 20mb per month.

    On this occasion we will be unable to investigate your complaint any further. We consider that the small print makes clear exactly how much free internet is available to customers on a monthly basis. You mention in your complaint that you feel this is a very small amount, however this aspect of your complaint would not be a matter for the ASA. You may wish to contact BT directly to voice your concerns about this"

    So what do the ASA do all day. 'Truth in Advertising' is supposed to be their thing, not truth buried in 6 point type

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Goodbye Orange...

    Just like "Just another reminder that the Orange has gone rotten" and "glad to be a former Orange customer...", I am now also with T-Mobile, although, that's only since yesterday.

    After reading this article originally, I thought I'd call my dedicated customer care number (448 for Premier plan customers), and promptly sat on hold for... wait for it... 75 minutes. Yes. That's right. Seventy-five minutes. Until someone answered the phone. My plan to ask about their data rates and possibly upgrade my phone for another year's contract went out the window at that point, and the lady in Disconnections sounded disappointed that she couldn't persuade me to stop switching, and issued me a PAC code.

    T-Mobile on the other hand was efficient and straight-forward. No fuss, no hassle, no drama. And my new Nokia is charging as we speak.

  44. Danny Whatmough

    Not Happy

    Came BACK to Orange a month ago knowing that these new data tariffs are coming in - now am not happy at all with the 30Mb cap - feel that i have been misled...

  45. Ian Cooper

    Confused website

    Their customer service website is a little confused at the moment as shown below. Good to see that if I don't use World Access I don't get charged for it...

    Orange World Access

    Mbs per month | cost per month

    none | £0.00

    OW Daily Capped Usage | £0.00

    Unlimited Evening & Weekend Browsing | £5.00

    30 | £8.00

    80 | £41.13

    ...and while in the store at the weekend the technical guy on the end of the phone was suggesting that the 30MB inclusive price was for just the Orange World portal, and that anything on the general Internet would cost £3/mb with no cap.

    From the sound of things their billing system and advertising is entirely confused. There's a £2/day maximum pay as you go service available (free evenings and weekends though...)

    The guys at Orange I've spoken with have said things are a complete and utter mess at the moment and to wait a while for them to fix their systems.

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