back to article Dongling P2P downloaders 2nd-biggest mobe data users

Almost 90 per cent of operators now charge for data by volume, but billing by content is growing, with free access to social networking and partner sites becoming commonplace. The figures come from Allot Mobile, providers of caching and content delivery for mobile operators around the world. The company reports annually using …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Danny 5
    Thumb Down

    not out here they wont

    about time other countries start following Holland with their "net neutrality" laws. pricing should be by usage, not for specific traffic/content. It's also a blatant display of ISP's analyzing your traffic, not sure what privacy authorities have to say about that.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Analysing traffic?

      In the example given, surely just seeing if you are sending or requesting data to/from Facebook, isn't analysing the content of the traffic at all. Of course you could argue that even the destination is your private information. Not sure that would wash though.

    2. King Edward I

      Privacy Authorities? In this country?

      They say "carry on and do what you like".

    3. Gordan

      Charging for bandwidth

      If that were to become the case then ISPs would also need to charge a reasonable fee per GB, which would be measured in pennies considering what bandwidth actually costs them.

      The problem is that the cost of bandwidth delivery at the last hop on a mobile network is much higher than for ADSL or cable.

      Then again, I trust that providers have done their maths and considering that 3 have started offering unmetered all-you-can-eat data on £15/month PAYG SIM-only I rather doubt that bandwidth is as expensive as the ISPs mouthpieces say.

      1. wabbit02

        not pennies


        The "pennies" you speak of only really take in to account the peering and installed infrastructure costs, not increases in capacity, support or installation. Also it is not unreasonable to expect a company to turn a profit . As for three - they are in customer acquisition mode and terms of their loans are (or where) based around subscriptions not profit (yes that is crazy).

        Most ISP's didn't make money - that's why there are only a few left, which predominantly run it as a value add or retention tool to get the voice revenue - as this drops there is more pressure on the IP side to deliver profit.

        If we are to move back in to a pay per usage world then I would expect the price most people pay for the internet to go up, not down (as is happening in Holland). Secondly most people don't understand "GB", but do understand services.

        1. wabbit02

          and its starting in the uk

          Tesco's fair use policy - this will be the first of many, the restriction of ISP's to differentiate by service, means that on flat rate data may be charged.

          personally - Id be quite happy for a e-mail to take 3-4 seconds longer to send than have my skype call chopped up and charged for the process.


          We regularly monitor and review our customer’s collective and average monthly usage to set our fair usage limit (FUL) at a level that will not affect the majority (at least 95%) of our customers. Currently the FUL is set at 100GB per month. If a customer regularly downloads in excess of the FUL, we take the following steps:

          1. When we first notice that a customer has exceeded the FUL, we contact the customer to bring the matter to their attention. We will ask the customer to modify their use and/or give them the opportunity to move onto a ‘Super-user tariff’ (see our Price List for details).

          2. If the customer declines to move to the Super-user Tariff but continues to exceed the FUL for a further two consecutive months, we will suspend or terminate the customer’s service.


      2. AdamWill


        I got to chat with the president of a Canadian cellphone carrier recently, and he told me something I hadn't really got before. He said if it was just a case of 'more capacity', he'd be happy to buy backhaul by the truckload and sell it on, per GB, for a reasonable markup; the problem, like you say, is last mile, but it's not just that last mile costs a lot for cellular providers, it's that they just can't increase last mile capacity beyond a certain level. The amount of bandwidth a single base station can handle is the bottleneck - it's not a huge amount, and obviously the more users per base station, the less traffic each one can use. So, build more base stations - except thanks to the 'cellphones cause cancer' nuts and the consequent effect of base stations on property values, every time an operator wants to build a new one in a vaguely populated area (like where we all want to use lots of data...) they have a huge planning fight on their hands. So it's not even a case, for the cellular operators, of throwing money at building more base stations - they might have a ton of money to spend on base stations and still not be able to get permission to build them. They're effectively hamstrung at a certain level of capacity until technology improvements allow them to carry more data per base station, or they manage to get the necessary permissions to build more.

        The basic principle is solid, though: data is data, and per-byte metering is a damn sight less evil than service-based pricing.

    4. adnim Silver badge

      have an upvote

      I absolutely agree, data is data is 1's&0's. Differentiating usage by content should be illegal. As you have mentioned it requires that the provider spy on the user to determine packet content/sites visited. I see no problem at all charging per Mb, this would by fair and there is no need to spy on the user.

    5. Velv Silver badge

      Data or Content?

      Data is data, and should be charged the same?

      By the same argument, pay TV should be a flat fee for all channels. It's all just 1s and 0s being broadcast, and your box receives them even if you haven't paid to unlock the content.

      What we should have is a FAIR and TRANSPARENT model for charging. As has been said many times, "Unlimited" should be truly UNLIMITED.

      But will the regulators do anything?

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "By the same argument, pay TV should be a flat fee for all channels. It's all just 1s and 0s being broadcast, and your box receives them even if you haven't paid to unlock the content."

        No, you just made a complete arse of yourself there. The difference in pricing for each tv channel is due to your money going towards the content generator and not the data transport provider (that's not to say sky/virgin don't skim a bit more for popular channels).

        You can't compare that to the internet where the ISP is not collecting some of the money on behalf of the content generator, the content generator either collects money directly from the user or through advertising.

    6. JohnG

      Re: It's also a blatant display of ISP's analyzing your traffic

      As I understand it, the use of traffic shaping devices that may use deep packet inspection to identify traffic classes is perceived quite differently from straightforward packet capture as the former does not imply storage of data for later analysis (by people).

  2. Gordan

    Bandwidth Percentages

    29% P2P

    39% Video streaming

    How is this different to fixed line ISPs bandwidth split? If it isn't substantially different, why is it newsworthy?

  3. ph0b0s

    Differentiated service vs net neutrality

    Two thing's:

    First is how this change will fit in with net neutrally rules etc, as they don't seem to fit very well to me.

    Second is that ISP's want to be just treated like utility providers who cannot police the internet for governments and rights holders. They want to be like Electricity and Water providers where they provide the utility, but don't police what you do with what they provide.

    That argument gets more difficult when they are in effect policing your traffic themselves so they can have differentiated services for their own profit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      However take a look at traditional voice based telcos - they do vary charges depending on who you call (local, national, mobile, even friends & family equivalents) yet they don't police what you do with the phone.

      Equally utilities companies regularly charge differently depending on how much you use and when you use it, but have no involvement in how it is used.

  4. Ian Adams

    mobile PAY G data for stealing music?

    wouldn't it just be cheaper to pay for the stuff in the first place??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Paying the wrong people, too

      WTF indeed! Something is seriously wrong with these people if they'd rather give money to cellular carriers (those bastards!) than to their favorite musicians.

    2. spodula


      And probably quicker, even factoring having to get the bus into town...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Ian Adams

      Not if they are using some data for other things too - there would be no additional cost as such for using otherwise wasted allowances to steal music rather than just let it fade away.

      I also imagine that your bandwidth charges are still cheaper than buying the music legitimately, and if you are legally buying from a download site then you would be effectively paying twice anyway.

  5. James Woods


    gotta love it all.

    In the real world if you want to start a business and be successful you put together a plan to sell a product or service that people want, will pay for, and can of course afford.

    When it comes to the telecommunications industry things are a bit different. In the united states the telecommunications companies have monopolies. For years when cable internet was starting up trying to get everyone signed up it was "always-on do whatever" but now that people are actually using what was advertised to them the cable monopolies are cracking down because they do not have the capacity to provide the level of service they sold to you.

    With wireless the real money was always in data plans because wireless would typically transmit very little yet most wireless monopolies would have plans starting around at least $30/month. You would be lucky to use a gig a month and all the while they were probably still nailing you with text message charges or packages.

    Now that wireless has wireless broadband and wireless speeds are picking up once again the same old monopolies that sold you a service are tightening up the reigns as people finally begin to actually use the service.

    Cable internet can't charge based on usage because it can't provide an SLA or QOS. The cable monopolies know this. So as it sits the pricing they charge is fair.

    Once they start to go beyond bandwidth caps they really are going to push the envelope. This goes for wireless and wired.

  6. Tim Jenkins


    "done mainly by PAYG dongle downloaders seeking to avoid their residential address being identified"

    Damn - I never thought of doing that!

    minus 3d6 NRD points for 12 hours and a permanent -1on INT ; (

    1. Matthew 3

      RE: P2People

      I thought that Tor was the tool of choice if you didn't want your residential address identified?

      1. AdamWill

        well, yeah, but...

        ...have you ever tried downloading anything over Tor? Proxying a connection through a chain of random, usually residential connections doesn't do much for your transfer rate.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge


          downloading anything sizeable (even restartable) over 3g(+) isnt much fun either.

  7. MarkieMark1

    could the p2p traffic really be

    telecoms – google voice, skype, etc – p2p traffic?

    how would they know the difference?

    1. Tim #3

      And Spotify?

      Isn't that P2P too?

    2. JohnG

      how would they know the difference?

      Deep Packet Inspection. There are traffic shaping devices which look into packet payload data to identify the type of traffic e.g. Bittorrent using a port associated with http traffic (in order to get through a firewall restriction) can be identified by looking for certain details in the payload data. This can then be used to place all P2P traffic in a separate class from 'real' browser traffic.

      1. Gordan

        DPI is doomed to fail

        For a start, it cannot DPI SSL connections, and most bittorrent clients now support SSL.

        1. wabbit02


          so wrong and misguided its comical. whilst encrypting the payload does mean that certain techniques are ruled out - it does not mean that others are.

          1. Gordan


            If the traffic is encrypted using SSL, you only have two options available to you:

            1) Look at the port number - works to some extent, but a lot of people now run their BT on port 443 (https), and if you don't want to block https you are suddenly having a very up-hill struggle between false positives and an ineffective detection rate a-la RBLs.

            2) You can perform a man-in-the-middle attack, which may or may not work depending on the nature of the SSL implementation. Granted, if the server and/or the client don't have a 3rd party cryptographic certificate of their own identity, you have nothing to gauge the validity of the connection to the intended client and the MitM.

            The BIG problem, however, is the CPU time required to do that much crypto in real-time. Kit that can do that in real-time for the sort of bandwidth that ISPs havev to shift is prohibitively expensive (call it £100K for a cheap cypher like RC4 for every 10Gb of traffic you have to serve, orders of magnitude more for something like AES if you also want to do something meaningful with the packet content). Also, it would become very obvious very quickly that an ISP was using it, since it would light up the warnings on your browser every time you tried to connect to legitimate SSL web sites. Either way, it hasn't happened yet, but when it does I'm sure freetards will come up with their own solution to their required webs of trust. As with other similar things, it's an arms race.

            1. wabbit02

              your points are valid

              If you want to see what the payload is, however if you don't care, then there are other methods that are not that taxing on CPU. All of the DPI vendors have released information about their ability to identify this traffic, see

              As for the arms race, of coarse your right, someone develops something, someone else reverse engineers it x time later. They adapt, it goes backwards and forwards etc. the main issue is, if your constantly destroying or creating uncertainty in a service, people migrate away from it.

              Moving away from Bit torrent Services such as iplayer (or netflix) for instance would suffer the same cost increase of trying to obfuscate their traffic.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    I would like to thank my former mobe telco...

    Very much for the approximate one acre of warm tropical paradise overlooking the azure sea; land that we bought using their generous settlement payment.

    "Unlimited" Dongle Data .NE. Limited Dongle Data

    It still makes me grin.

  9. Nights_are_Long

    Use mobile broadband when mobile, not as a household option.

    To be honest this has failed to shock me, Mobile Broadband is in my mind should be what it's used for i.e. Use outside of the Home or Office. People often use this as a cheep alternative to home broadband and then hog all the bandwidth and cap's get imposed.

    I don't use much in the way of mobile Data maybe the odd email or web search if I am out the house and need the address of some place, but I know people who use it as home broadband and moan about slow speeds, unreliable connections and cost if they go over the limit of the dongle data plan they have. But these are the same people who refuse to get a fixed land line telephone and broadband even though the savings they would make on the broadband alone are astronomical.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    for anyone using three

    on the one plan they have actively stopped the use of sim cards being used in dongles if they plan you are on includes voice minutes.

    you are redirected to if you try and browse.

    can someone here tell me what the possible reasons for this are, and whats the difference from a network point of view from tethering using your sim and dongle use.

    yes its off topic!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ac 27th July 2011 08:57 : for anyone using three

      "on the one plan they have actively stopped the use of sim cards being used in dongles if they plan you are on includes voice minutes."

      I'm on this plan, and I have not tried putting the SIM into a different device.

      "can someone here tell me what the possible reasons for this are, and whats the difference from a network point of view from tethering using your sim and dongle use."

      I'm guessing that the phone identifier has changed, and you need to reregister the SIM if you change your phone or phone like data device. It's likely to be part of a set of security measures imposed. I use this contract on my mobile for mobile data and with Android 2.2 and above, tethering and use of phone as a portable WiFi hotspot is directly supported by this contract and has not been a problem for me in practice.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ "...not as a household option..."

    There have been people living in specific locations without any wired options whatsoever (too far from the CO for DSL, no Cable TV on the road), but perfectly within range of one or more cell towers. Provided that they're willing to pay the very high monthly fee (perhaps $100 as compares to $30 for wired options), then this is their only option.

    Your point is still valid, provided that you accept that there are perfectly-rational exceptions.

    1. Nights_are_Long

      Some times.

      OK I agree occasionally there might be a valid reason for using it in a domestic situation, but I am talking about the people who can get fixed line and moan because they cant use XYZ like they did before. A prime example is one of my friends who uses Skype to talk to his family overseas, he gets constant lag and random drops in his connection, he moved from a reasonable ADSL connection to the dongle for price reasons but get's stung for over use on his data plan and get's a unreliable service to boot and can't wait for the contract to run out so he can move back to a fixed line service because he never uses the dongle outside of the house.

  12. wabbit02

    dutch prices go up

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019