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Mobile Data Services

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,236
Registered: ‎02-08-2007

Mobile Data Services

I regulurly use my mobile phone as a bluetooth modem for my laptop. This has not caused any problem with charges as it is slower than a wet week but ok for email and stuff.
Recently while visiting my brother in the Republic of Ireland I used it for checking email.
When I got my phone bill today I saw that for downloading 3.484Mb Orange had charged me £23.721 excluding VAT!
I emailed them straight away and demanded that they justify this charge.
Is this the going rate for using mobile data services outside the UK?
I honestly cannot understand how such a tiny amount of bandwidth can cost so much, under any circumstances in this day and age.
Just like I told Orange, I may be forced to consider other options. Any ideas?
15 REPLIES
pcoventry76
Grafter
Posts: 950
Registered: ‎27-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

not sure about them but from 28th september the EU pricing now dictates roaming data is being charged at £7 a MB exc vat
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,236
Registered: ‎02-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

Excuse me while I catch my breath. How the **** can they justify thatHuh?!!! Surely there is some sort of fair trading law?
I mean this HAS to be at least 99% pure profit for the companies involved?!
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,236
Registered: ‎02-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

I have looked at that before. Since my first mobile in 1998, I have been with Vodafone, then Cellnet (O2) then back to Vodafone, then Orange, then 3, then back to Orange.
My point is that out of all, 3 were the worst by a long way, so bad in fact that I bought out of the contract after 8 months so I connot now be tempted by any of their offers or plans.
Most companies have a UK call centre if you push hard enough but with 3 I did not once get to speak to someone who could understand what I was saying.
Community Veteran
Posts: 380
Thanks: 6
Registered: ‎22-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

I use t-mobiles webNwalk with their usb modem which is like the one that 3 supply, but the inclusive data is UK only.
Often its cheaper when roaming to get a local sim and use that, than use your own mobile and if its a country you go to regular then its probably your best bet.
I know I am certainly temted by the new 3 offer and may switch when I am out of my contract.
Tamlyn
Grafter
Posts: 268
Registered: ‎11-04-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

I've just got a 3 phone with x-series which includes 1GB of usage. Get 1000 outgoing skype minutes too (unlimited incoming). Pretty pleased with it. They say you're not meant to use it as a modem but I have done a bit and they don't seem to have noticed.
I generally try and minimise my phone use when roaming because of the ridiculous charges. I'm glad the EU have done something about it but £7/MB still seems far too expensive. Ho hum.
itsme
Grafter
Posts: 5,924
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎07-04-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

It's bandwidth. Mobiles work at a fixed frequency so have a finite capacity.
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,789
Registered: ‎08-06-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

I would guess it's backhaul bandwidth from the cells actually.
In the UK, "3G" actually means UMTS (W-CDMA).  This protocol has a theoretical 14.4Mbit/s downlink speed, although most handsets are actually "Revision 1999" which is limited to 384Kbit/s.
The next handset revision enables a protocol called HSDPA (also referred to as 3.5G) which gives a 3.6Mbit/s downlink speed.  Further in the future we're looking at "4G" speeds approaching 100Mbit/s downlink.
Obviously this is only the connection speed between you and the nearest tower.  A good analogy would be to think of your phone as your home phone, and the cell as your local exchange.  Irrespective of your "sync speed", the data still needs to pass from the cell tower to "the internet".
At the moment, most voice cell traffic is carried via microwave to other cell towers which cover the country in a kind of 'mesh' network.  Some of these stations act as base repeaters, which essentially intercept cell traffic and backhaul it over satellite or fibre into the mobile carriers transit network.
Unfortunately, the microwave transmitters have a finite capacity.  In addition the backhauls also have a finite (albeit larger) capacity.
Even if the traffic is then backhauled back onto the mobile carrier's network, they then have to have the Internet connectivity to feed that backhaul.  That would mean establishing peering arrangements with organisations such as LINX.  It also means they need to move all that traffic from the cell tower, over the backhaul to some regional peering centers such as Telehouse and Redbus.
In general, the infrastructure is simply not man enough to handle the amount of data that people want.  It's no surprise that the mobile carriers are dragging their feet preparing their networks for the emergence of 3.5G and eventually 4G.  It means a massive investment in hardware and transit peering.
Unfortunately, the consumer seems to want smaller and faster mobile gadgets!
B.
grimme
Grafter
Posts: 241
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

On the Vodafone Network they have Vodafone Passport (dial 5555 from handset) and that can get you in a single 24 hour period up to 15mb data for £5 in Countries Vodafone have a roaming agreement with.
Vodafone Ireland (Eirecell) is one of them.
It's only cheaper than others if all your e-mail retrieval/internet access is done on one 24 hour period.
pcoventry76
Grafter
Posts: 950
Registered: ‎27-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

Well my last setup was a N95 on t-mobile and that was the fastest handset i had - not just the 3G the phone also loads alot faster.
I could get 50k/sec all the time on it - very happy considering i was getting 1GB for £7.50 a month INC VAT!
they say you cannot link it to a laptop - in 4 years they never once asked me to stop.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,396
Thanks: 717
Fixes: 10
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

Glad you said that pcconventry cos it's exactly what I'm doing at the moment using my LG shine.
Thinking of using it occassionally at work using their £1 per day thing.
It's definately a rip off that PAYG customers cannot buy a monthly amount though..
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
pcoventry76
Grafter
Posts: 950
Registered: ‎27-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

it might not be when you consider that PAYG data on payg AND contract is £3 per MB!
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,396
Thanks: 717
Fixes: 10
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

blimey, so their £7.50 per month thing must be a big loss!
Makes me think that it can't be sustainable really. I know £1 per day is quite a bit but at the moment I can't find another network who will offer any cheaper Sad
3 offer cheap internet but that means ditching my new LG Shine and going for a 3 phone (I think the shine is only 2.5G??)
Oh well...
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
RobDickson
Grafter
Posts: 633
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎06-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

If you visit Ireland regularly, why not buy a "PAYG" Irish SIM card?
Sorry if this has already been suggested, but I didn't notice it in my quick skim through the posts.
pcoventry76
Grafter
Posts: 950
Registered: ‎27-08-2007

Re: Mobile Data Services

it is substainable - T-Mobile have been doing it for years.
Yes i'm sure the shine is 2.5G