Rory Cellan-Jones

Orange's 'unlimited' iPhone

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 3 Nov 09, 09:13 GMT

Remember the price war that was supposed to break out once O2 lost its exclusive contract to sell the iPhone in Britain?

Well, the price plans that Orange has published for the phone show little sign of an eagerness for hand-to-hand combat.

Man using an iPhoneApart from an entry-level £30 tariff which promises twice as many minutes as O2's deal, the two firms' offers look virtually identical.

Look at what's likely to be among the most popular tariffs, a 24-month contract for a 16GB iPhone 3GS at £34.26 a month, where you pay £87 for the device.

That's identical in every respect to the O2 deal, except for the cost of the device - which is £87.11.

As we suspected, the high price that Apple extracts from operators leaves them little margin to undercut their rivals - about 11p in fact.

But what does stand out when you examine Orange's price card more closely is what it says about the unlimited data that has been an essential part of the iPhone's appeal.

An asterisk next to the "unlimited" leads to a note saying "Fair Usage policy of 750MB/ month applies." Cue plenty of grumbling from potential customers, particularly on Twitter.

The cap appeared to apply to data downloaded via wi-fi as well as via the 3g network, so some concluded that Orange was planning to curb their customers' use of their own home networks.

I called Orange to check this out - and found the company slightly confused about its own fair usage policy. More than four hours later, the press office finally returned with chapter and verse.

There was a 750MB cap for 3g mobile data, and a separate 750MB for data downloaded with their wi-fi partner BT Openzone - you are free to do what you want on your own network.

So how does this compare with O2? That company came back with its own statement, confirming that its "unlimited" data policy did in fact have its limits.

"We reserve the right... to contact customers about their usage if we believe it adversely affects the service of our other customers, eg if a customer uses their SIM in another device for which it is not intended."

So O2 looks to be a little less restrictive than Orange.

But will many really run up against Orange's limit? At first 750MB may seem an awful lot of data to use on a phone - I reckon I get through about 200MB in a heavy month.

But what we've seen so far is that once you offer people "unlimited" data, they rush to use it, and software developers provide them with new data-rich applications.

Streaming audio and video are increasingly popular on the iPhone, and they can chew up your data allowance at an alarming rate.

Last night someone pointed me towards this clause in Orange's Terms and Conditions:

"Not to be used for other activities (eg using your handset as a modem, non-Orange internet based streaming services, voice or video over the internet, instant messaging, peer to peer file sharing, non-Orange internet based video). Should such use be detected notice may be given and Network protection controls applied to all services which Orange does not believe constitutes mobile browsing."

It sounds as though services like Spotify, AudioBoo, Ustream and even Facebook messaging - increasingly popular with O2 iPhone customers - will be out of bounds for Orange users.

The operator is caught between a rock and a hard place. With little room for manoeuvre on prices, it will be hoping that better network coverage will be one factor winning over iPhone customers from O2.

But if too many power users start streaming TV and playing online games on their phones, the Orange network may buckle under the strain - hence the need for a fair usage limit.

Just hours after publishing its price list, Orange appeared to be having second thoughts about that 750MB cap, admitting that plenty of e-mails had been coming in and that it had noticed the rising tide of Twitter comments.

A spokesman told me the cap would be "reviewed" to make sure that it was at the right level.

The problem for the operators is that users no longer see the iPhone and similar devices as phones but as small computers. And who wants to be told 25 days into each month that they must now stop playing around with their computer and just use it to make calls?

Update, 17:20: Orange has been in touch to clarify their iPhone terms and conditions. Here's the company's statement:

"We do recognise that iPhone customers will use popular streaming services such as YouTube, Spotify etc. As a result we do not intend to apply network protection controls to anyone, as long as they are within their usage allowance. The T&Cs are in place to reserve the right to restrict access should they continue to exceed our Fair Usage policy, and our other Mobile data users suffer a reduced data experience as a result."


  • Comment number 1.

    Yep, seems Orange have completely missed the point of the iPhone...

    As for me, I continue to be perfectly happy without one. Android step forward!

  • Comment number 2.

    So, apart from Orange offering twice as many inclusive minutes and a substantially reduced handset fee, Orange and o2 are identical, right?


    No, I don't work for Orange.

  • Comment number 3.

    With the advent of phones like the iPhone and many of the phones on Android etc, All the networks need to look at their Terms and conditions and amend them accordingly. Unlimited and never meant unlimited with any of the Major UK networks. Take Text Messaging for example, a couple of years ago when the Unlimited SMS bundles came about if you took a look at the T & Cs there was the amendment that it wasn't actually unlimited and it actually came in at a fair usage policy of 3000 messages. This is obviously to limit the strain on the network and not to bring it crashing down (since it already seems at breaking point on some networks). However in the US, Unlimited means unlimited and i've seen reports of people (grown people and teenagers) using in excess of 160,000 text messages in a month. My friends in the US regularly use 5000 in a month with no bother from the networks.

    I believe that O2's policy is a 250MB or 500MB fair usage policy on the iPhone, i rarely use 100MB myself as im usually connected to wifi. And with the emergence of things like Spotify and TV catch up i think that 500MB or even 750Mb could get eaten up easily. Also the thing about using your phone as a modem has been a feature on mobile phones for years, its only recently with 3G speeds that people have sued it and with the furore that the iPhone supported it and O2 charging £15 a month for the privilege is just ridiculous, especially since i can do it on my 3 year old sony ericsson no problem.

    Also disappointed by oranges decision to have the 500 text message limit, why not have an option on the the £45 a month tariff for 900 messages and 1000 texts, or 600 messages and unlimited texts - i know you can get a bolt-on equivalent probably for £7.50 or whatever but im sure if they included it in a plan with a more substantial discount like other phones they'd have one over on O2, its fine paying £45 per month to get the phone for free but 1200 minutes and 500 texts is ridiculous

  • Comment number 4.

    Despite all of this, there's still the bigger issue of coverage. If Orange can offer me better 3G coverage than O2, I'm probably going to switch. I'd rather have a clearly set out, if limited, allowance than patchy signal.

    The official OfCom maps here demonstrate the differences in 3G coverage quite convincingly:

  • Comment number 5.

    I would hardly call 11p "substantially reduced"

    The network providers have simply come up against the same issues that the big ISPs have. If you sell something as unlimited people will use it all the time, none stop. Unless you hide some get out clause in your FUP/T&C saying that you're going to cut back their bandwidth/shape their traffic/impose limits on their data traffic.

    The word unlimited should be banned from advertising unless it means just that, no limits.

  • Comment number 6.

    @Wayne Smallman

    Orange offer exactly the same amount of minutes and texts on the iPhone as O2 do for the comparable contracts. Orange do a cheaper contract, with very restrictive texts and minutes allowance, but the comparable contracts are almost identical. It makes you wonder who is setting the contract pricing. Is it the networks, or Apple? The price difference up front and on the contract is pennies at most.

    Simply, I can upgrade my launch day iPhone 3G next month and I live in an urban area with perfectly acceptable O2 3G coverage. Do I go to the hassle of moving my phone number over to Orange, or do I stay with O2?

    I think its quite clear what I'd do.

    Lets see how Vodafone goes with their announcement in the very near future. If they stick rigidly to this pricing scheme, people are going to be questioning if there has been some price fixing occuring.

  • Comment number 7.

    Although o2 may seem more permissive, you actually can't be sure what you're allowed to use on its network:,39029453,49304117,00.htm

    And that's a big problem.

  • Comment number 8.

    I was expecting Orange to be a bit more innovative about this - taking forward their Animals plans and the pick and choose options you see on every other device they sell.

    This Rigid iPhone tariff format winds me up a bit, andi originally thought itwas just O2 being nerdy about it.

    I suppose this shows how much influence Apple have over the deals, which I think is to the detriment of their userbase. Surely Apple are making enough money through the App store and iTunes now - do they really need to gouge the operators as well?

  • Comment number 9.

    I am perhaps something off an 'odd ball' for I have had an iPhone since August last year, yet continue to also have my trusty Nokia N95. The Nokia is on Orange and the iPhone O2.

    O2 give me a good discount for using their home broadband service as I am a customer of theirs. The service is very good compared to my last ISP. Customer service, apart from one time which was sorted within 5 days - has also been very good and usually need not wait more than a few minutes to get to a person to talk to. The staff in their shop was helpful when I bought the iPhone - I am in short happy with O2.

    Now on to Orange. I am really not sure about comments about coverage being better. I live in London but also often travel to Cambridgeshire. Around the Fen's reception is iffy at the best of times and often nothing at all when indoors (O2 is often '1 bar' better.) I recently was in Whitby, North Yorkshire. Orange and O2 were appallingly poor around the Moors - Vodaphone won the day there - My Father's preferred carrier.

    So coverage to me not such a winner - Data speeds and or bottle necks, again I can't comment but equally have not had many issues with O2 and the iPhone not working data wise.

    Orange customer care - [looks around and wonders if they have any] One has to wait an age to get through to a person and when one has is treated with complete disregard. If you have a problem with THEIR service then actually they think you have the problem. I've been on hold and cut off and had to go through he process over and again, I've experienced emails going into the black hole never to be replied to. And more to the point, in the early evenings (and perhaps this is just where I live and the cell tower has a large number of Orange customers using it) 6-8pm will have calls drop or trouble making the call to begin.

    In short, for me O2 do a good job. And I think for the 11p saving (and yes as Wayne Smallman points out some extra minutes) if you are a customer who has never had an iPhone, and you want one and you happen to be on Orange then honestly think you are the type to be of benefit. I certainly would not go to Orange from O2 at the end of the my Contract. I doubt many will make a switch to them either. But wait until Vodafone get in on the game. I see them as the bully of the networks, but I suspect will do the best all round job of data limits, call and text bundles even if the price may not be cheaper.

    And that is my two pennies worth.

    P.s - It really is not about the iPhone - Any new 'Smart Phone' will be the same. People want to email, surf, play, stream etc and that is data. And end of the day the mobile networks (what with all the USB Notebook dongles out there) are up against it capacity wise. Something has to give.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think Vodafone missed a trick yesterday by not publicising their own offers and tariffs for the iPhone.

    I'm an O2 iPhone customer who's sick of the poor 3G connection and rotten customer service. I'll be moving elsewhere once my contract is up. As a previous Orange user, I'd say their customer service is a lot better. But I'd really like to know what Vodafone are planning to do...

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    So O2 looks to be a little less restrictive than Orange.

    Or it O2 looks to be a little less open and honest than Orange. Until you can actually find out how O2 consider tethering, streaming, peer to peer, VOIP etc. then you've got no basis for comparison.

  • Comment number 13.

    "Not to be used for other activities (eg using your handset as a modem [...])"

    Oh, for goodness' sake! In this age of 3G phone networks, voice calls are digitised, compressed and sent as packets of data, just like all other net traffic. It's all data, your data usage can still be measured, and they control the network so they can easily implement a simple charge per MB or GB or data, irrespective of the nature of the data. If they don't want people to use the capabilities of the new breed of phones, why exactly are they bothering to sell them?

  • Comment number 14.

    The more I think about this the more cynical part of me wonders if this is a deliberate move by Orange.

    Demonstrate how Apple have forced their hand through the deal by mimicking O2's plans...

    Before we just assumed that O2 put these deals up because they had a monopoly, where as now, we can presume that these deals are the only way the networks can make carrying the hanset profitable...

    I wonder if this is just a marketting ploy - leverage the consumer to lob rocks at Apple and allow them to renegotiate. Can't see it working tho...

    Smart move by Voda sitting this one out for now. I would imagine a short term loss leader might work for them and realign the market.

  • Comment number 15.

    @ 3

    "However in the US, Unlimited means unlimited and i've seen reports of people (grown people and teenagers) using in excess of 160,000 text messages in a month."

    By my calculations, and feel free to correct if I'm wrong, that equates to more than 3 texts messages every minute in the average month. That sounds ridiculous, even for teenage Americans!

    Back on topic, using the word unlimited to mean limited, even with a star leading to the terms must constitute false advertising. What is the point of using the word unlimited at all? There must be something some consumer body can do about that...

    I also doubt they will get away with restricting certain applications (such as Spotify) as mentioned in the article. I think they need to take a good hard look at their terms and conditions.

  • Comment number 16.


    A few points:

    1) Great that consumers now have a bit of a choice with this great device, especially that Orange have better 3G coverage than O2; as evidenced by maps from OFCOM. Only Apple was gaining from O2's monopoly.

    2) While it's good news for the consumer, it's not necessarily good news for the already battered economy as these price-wars are out of desperation. Operators are subsidising handsets and not making much money out of it. Result could be redundancies.

    3) All major handset makers are feeling the pinch, and are warning of oversupply coupled with even lower prices in 2010, as they struggle for market share in an already saturated market.

  • Comment number 17.

    ...Just another thought RE: Orange terms of use on the iPhone, in the article I quote...

    "Not to be used for other activities (eg using your handset as a modem, non-Orange internet based streaming services, voice or video over the internet, instant messaging, peer to peer file sharing, non-Orange internet based video). Should such use be detected notice may be given and Network protection controls applied to all services which Orange does not believe constitutes mobile browsing."

    Whilst some such as '15 - Pegsinho ' say:
    "I also doubt they will get away with restricting certain applications (such as Spotify) as mentioned in the article. I think they need to take a good hard look at their terms and conditions."

    This is Orange we are talking about here. And Orange have a habit of 'branding' handsets and locking down certain things. I remember that in the past Orange's version of a N95 (The one I use is sim free used on Orange) had certain features missing such as being able to use Voip over wifi. 9you cna get round it useing Skoot) - the point is, it would not amaze me if somehow they wrangled with Apple that certain Apps downloaded to an Orange iPhone would not run.

    Put another way, I would not put much past Orange.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ 16:

    I think this is a case whereby Apple bucks the trend. See:

    ..."Apple has shrugged off the recession with profits surging on demand for its iPhones, laptops and desktop computers. The technology giant made a net profit of $1.67bn (£1bn) in the three months to 26 September, up 47% on a year earlier. Sales rose 25% to $9.87bn. Computer sales grew 17%, and iPhone sales climbed 7%, though there was an 8% drop in the number of iPods sold..."

    Whereas Nokia...:

    "Nokia has reported a loss for the July to September quarter after sales sank by almost a fifth. The company made a net loss of 913m euros ($1.4bn; £838m) for the period, compared with a profit of 1.1bn euros for the same quarter last year..."

    Some you win, some you loose.

  • Comment number 19.

    #18 londonrascal.

    True! In fact soon after Apple announced mega profits and Nokia announced losses, the latter sued the former for patent infringement! Nokia may well have a legal case, but one can't help thinking, this a case of "If you can't beat them, SUE them?"

    What's clear from a business perspective is that, in a saturated handset market, innovation will be a key differentiating factor. Apple has got the "i" factor, and right now signs are they're in league of their own with the iPhone. Things could change very rapidly though, especially with Google having joined the party.

  • Comment number 20.

    @ 3 + 15:

    Legolai, please don't post such ridiculous numbers without thinking how stupid they sound first! 15 is not entirely on the money with his/her figures - using the Gregorian month average of 30.4 days, that works out at 5263 messages a month. If you only slept for the average adult requirement of 7.5 hours a night, that's nearly 319 text messages every waking hour, which calculates as 5.3 messages every waking minute of every single day.

    One would imagine that these people have a very relaxed work/school environment, not to mention pretty painful RSI. Probably unusually good multi-taskers too, considering that they are driving/cooking/signing new mobile phone contracts whilst texting every 12 seconds.

  • Comment number 21.

    "However in the US, Unlimited means unlimited and i've seen reports of people (grown people and teenagers) using in excess of 160,000 text messages in a month. My friends in the US regularly use 5000 in a month with no bother from the networks."

    The US is hardly a model to look towards and admire. What other country still charges for incoming text messages?! And consider the cost of mobile phone tariffs in their country - the average iPhone tariff is $100+!

    The points mentioned about unlimited data and text messages are legitimate concerns. Without limits, lots of people will end up abusing this 'unlimited' package and end up ruining the network for everyone else. It'll be pointless paying £35/month if you can hardly call or text or even get online with your phone...

    And tell me, how often do you go over your texting limit? There's probably only that 1% - 2% of all mobile phone users in this country that push the limits...

  • Comment number 22.

    So far as I can tell, the published details for Orange and O2 iPhone tarriffs are only applicable to people without an iPhone. It remains unclear how one at the end of an O2 contract might go about legally unlocking their device in order to move to Orange, and how much Orange would charge if they were not required to subsidise a handset. In many other markets with competing operators, the iPhone is sold unlocked at the point of sale. With Vodafone entering the iPhone competition shortly, it would be interesting to see whether Apple will continue to stock only O2 handsets. Of course such policies might only become clear once the iPhone 4G comes out next summer and if so, we might have to wait longer for the next iteration than other countries, if the availability of the 3GS is anything to go by.

    If anyone has information on how one might switch operators without switching handsets, I'd appreciate any wisdom you'd be willing to share.

  • Comment number 23.

    Sorry, I meant that's 5263 messages a day, not a month!

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm with Orange and was thinking about upgrading to an iPhone since my existing HTC TyTN II is getting a bit long in the tooth.

    O2's T&Cs don't mention any restriction on "unlimited" at all, although they do restrict what you can use the phone for. But even with those restrictions 750MB is conservative.

    My existing Orange account has 3GB available, and my 3G dongle has 30GB/month! What's with limiting a phone to 750MB when its major selling point is always-on connectivity?

    I will be waiting for Orange to change their limit.

    And yes, using unlimited* with an asterisk should be outlawed. Unlimited up to 750MB is not unlimited.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    "Not to be used for other activities (eg ... non-Orange internet based video)"
    So no YouTube then?

    The iPhone offers internet access, yet Orange prevents you from doing more or less anythign the internet is useful, other than reading some text and looking at pictures).

    Further, I think that the word 'unlimited' should nto be used where there is a cap of any sort.

  • Comment number 27.

    I have been waiting for Orange's Iphone plans with interest. I have used smartphones for about ten years and have been with Orange for about 15. Each upgrade I have threatened to leave and pushed for the best deal possible and each upgrade Orange have persuaded me to stay. I expected their Iphone deals to be similar to O2's as Apple obviously do not discount the kit much to the network.

    I use 350mb a month on my current windows mobile device and consider myself a fairly heavy user. I would never download a tv show over 3g, but I have push email, facebook, web browsing etc on 24/7. I dont currently expect to have any problems with their unlimited data cap but reckon that if enough users do have problems then I would expect Orange to be flexible.

    The really big thing I am waiting for is cheap/bundle roaming data for those of us spending approx £45 a month!

  • Comment number 28.

    This is actually pretty good for orange, it was 250MB last year and 500MB earlier this year.
    It was annoying that my last phone (HTC Touch HD) was Orange exclusive for a good while. Thankfully my next phone (the extremely powerful Touch HD2) is not orange exclusive.

  • Comment number 29.

    " What is the point of using the word unlimited at all? "
    - to differentiate from tariffs that have fixed limits (after which they stop working or are restricted in rate) or tariffs with inclusive MB followed by paying per MB.

    An unlimited tariff tells the user it's a fixed price and it won't stop working (unless they go bananas, which is what the FUP is for).

  • Comment number 30.

    To be honest, I think Orange will let you on YouTube and Facebook..

    Reason being as far as I know, Facebook and Youtube are both advertised on Orange World, and so is email.
    So I'm pretty sure they are not going to stop that as 02 let you, and they wouldn't stop you using something thats advertised on their own internet portal...

  • Comment number 31.

    O2 had a £25pm tariff just last month. I know because I was trying to justify the cost of an iPhone and had all the tariffs written out to work out the total costs.

    Now that tariff doesn't exist. Combined with Orange essentially coming out with exactly the same tariffs and then hobbling the iPhone by preventing you from using it for practically anything, looks like I'm going to have to give it a miss for the time being.

    This is so frustrating. I'm getting so pee'd off with mobile network operators, locking down phones, disguising real costs, outright lying about unlimited data rates.

    I just want to buy a phone, pay an honest price for it, or at least have that handset repayment part made distinct in my monthly contract so that after 18 or 24 months it is clear which part of my bill no longer needs to be paid. I want complete separation of texts/minutes/data. I don't actually call people a helluva lot on my phone, I have a landline for that so a bazillion minutes are meaningless and a cost I don't want to have rolled into my monthly contract. I would pay for unlimited data.

    By my rough reckoning, it MUST be possible to get an iPhone 3GS for £20 - £25pm with 100mins + 150texts + unlimited data, and then after 18 months that should drop to £5 - £7 for just the calls/texts and data could be had as an optional extra. At the moment I pay £5pm total for my phone because I finished paying for the handset 6 years ago. It's a shame that it takes threats to get the bill down to those levels.

  • Comment number 32.

    I doubt orange will block you for using things not on orange world. I unlocked and flashed a custom ROM to my Touch HD within a few days of getting it (its on orange) and i use it for all sorts of internet services. Ive never even been to orangeworld. I also use Wifi tethering on it with my Laptop (it can act as a wifi router, sharing its connection), but its not been a problem so far.

  • Comment number 33.

    I have an iphone 3G on the French Orange network. Orange in France, until recently had an o2 style monopoly of the device and has always had a fair usage policy of 500MB per month on all their iphone contracts. When you go past that limit, your download and upload speeds are reduced to annoying levels. I have had the misfortune of going past the 500mb limit a few times but it happens rarely. I now watch fewer streamed videos and stick to text websites and haven't gone past the limit since. 750mb on orange UK will be plenty of data for the vast majority of users.

  • Comment number 34.

    @3 and @7 If you want to find out what O2 allow, read the terms and conditions. It's all here: - it's the second drop down link. Under data, you'll see that there are no GB restrictions. However on O2 you can't "use your SIM Card or iPhone to allow the continuous streaming of any audio / video content, enable Voice over Internet (Voip), P2P file sharing; or use them in such a way that adversely impacts the service to other customers of O2 ...". So, you can watch YouTube, just not all day every day.

    @4 Looking at that map there's a lot if inshore waters coverage. If you want to pay to support that, then that's fine, but I'm happy being covered where I go everyday.

    @11 Unfortunately, it's very true about the DRC/Rwanda. Smartphones (and normal mobiles) are exploiting people in such countries. Thankfully, though, Apple have started making changes - they're not dumping their toxic waste on developing countries any longer (, but there is still a long way to go. Here we have people complaining about prices, when actually the price paid is not equitable in the slightest!

  • Comment number 35.

    Very disappointing news.

    Oh well, I'll just wait a little longer. Or a lot longer, if needs be.

    It wouldn't take much to sway me into finally getting an iphone, but neither operator is offering any real new incentives. I have a 3yr old phone with a radio, mp3 player and a reasonable camera- and it's working fine.

    I like shiny new things and the extra features on the iphone are a tempting luxury, but I manage fine without them now, and without anything meaningful in the way of price reductions/offers I won't be budging.

  • Comment number 36.

    There's a few ppl going on about not being able to use large amounts of text messages, saying you have to send one every so many seconds.

    You're not really working it out very well.

    Think about when you receive a joke in a text message then forward it to 10 friends. If the text is the size of 3 individual text messages and you send it to 10 people that makes 30 text messages in one go. If you do that a few times a day while using text messages like instant messenger is easy to rack up massive amounts of text messages. I'm not one of those people but I have a few friends who got nuts with text messages.

    As far as the whole orange iPhone goes I'll wait and see what Vodafone have to offer as their coverage is a lot better. But really can't see anyone cutting the cost of the contact.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm one of the the 250,000 people who pre-registered an interest in the iPhone on Orange. But I doubt I'll be buying one despite being sent a special pre-order code. I didn't expect a price war as such but did think I might get an obviously better deal, maybe more text messages for a similar tariff or whatever.

    But the main objection I have, I think, is to the the 750 Mb cap on "Unlimited" data. Don't get me wrong - I understand why they may need to put some clauses into contracts for the odd truly excessive but don't call something unlimited when it isn't. Call it generous, Call it Mega. Call it Massive. Call it all kinds of things but not unlimited. When will the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) step in and put a stop to this kind of thing? By definition it is not unlimited; and weirdly, with the apparent exception of political broadcasts, all advertising should be legal, decent, honest and truthful - or something like that.

    Now I may change my mind, I may get drunk and order one anyway, or I may cynically decide that the whole market is rigged, or whatever. But I think I'm going to wait and see what handsets come along with Android 2.0 on them (early versions already out in the US) and this seems very promising and potentially less expensive than an iPhone contract.

    But then again future technology always does...

  • Comment number 38.

    "As a result we do not intend to apply network protection controls to anyone, as long as they are within their usage allowance."

    So it IS a usage allowance and not "unlimited"?

  • Comment number 39.

    i cant see how it is legal for them to advertise 'unlimited' and right under that table say that unlimited is only 750mb, which is clearly not unlimited. even if it is not an amount that you are likely to reach, it has got to be false advertising to call it unlimited.

  • Comment number 40.

    1. I see that the asterisk has been removed from the wifi 'unlimited' on their tariffs page.

    2. What happens when you reach that 'limit'? does the data stop flowing or does it just arrive at a slower rate? If that is the case is it really a limit as there are no promises about the speed of the 3G data?

  • Comment number 41.

    I too pre-registered on the orange site for an iPhone. I'm going to wait and see if they call me up at any point to see why I haven't placed my order yet so I can tell them exactly why.

  • Comment number 42.

    @37 Android 2.0 looks good, and HTC and Orange's main phone with Android support (HTC Hero) will support Android 2.0. Because of this I decided to skip the iPhone again and went for the Hero. Whether it is cheaper or not in the long run I am not sure, but I haven't paid any money for the phone, and I am on the same "entry level" contract mentioned above which means you need to pay £87.11 for the iPhone. In my mind this makes an Android device instantly cheaper.

    Anyone who wants an iPhone but not the restrictions placed on them by a network, in my opinion should look at what I have done - I have an iPod Touch and a wifi network. I have no data caps as my ISP provides me with a cap I am unlikely to achieve with my types of usage. The only differences I have found are no built in microphone (But the 32and 64GB versions of the Touch come with a microphone in the headphones) and no GPS.

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm on vodafone at moment so was going to wait and see if they can offer a better deal for the iphone but if they can't I have a feeling that I shall be going for one of the iphones rivals. What is the point of opening up the market so there can be increased competition if the prices are basically just 11p apart?

  • Comment number 44.

    I only know this situation from the customer of a standard ISP and not a mobile provider, but it seems to me that service providers seem to use a "fair usage policy" as a method of doing whatever suits them best. I avoid any company which bases it's service on "unlimited" with a bunch of asterisks. Now I'll only go with an ISP which states explicitly what its limits are. I may pay a little more than what somebody pays on an unlimited service, but I know exactly what I'm getting for my money and no surprises.

    Something has got to change here. Investment must be made in the infrastructure because content is getting larger and more and more is done online. The last thing we need is companies misleading customers over what they can do online. The ASA should punish any service provider that advertises unlimited service but also has a policy of limiting usage based on data transfered (as opposed to physical limits of the technology). I also think that customers should be willing to pay more for a true unlimited service because it does cost more.

    But while ISPs keep using the 'U' word, customers are going to consider them liars when they hit the limit.

  • Comment number 45.

    am I missing something here? they are a business, they provide a service, they have a limit to amount of data people use...750mb data, 750mb bt and then whatever you can get on wifi yourself is more than enough. If you are a 'superuser' then pay extra!

  • Comment number 46.

    Having unlimited as 750MB is somewhat limiting with devices that in theory can do online video, and at £30 odd a month it does not look cheap. Yes cheap in comparison to other mobiles, but it makes one seriously question the 'mobile will overtake landline based broadband' crowd.

    It may overtake in terms of numbers, but in terms of what people do with it, I suspect it will always lag. Remember a home with 2 adults and one teenager may have 3 mobile phones, 2 mobile dongles, but just the one fixed line broadband connection for the home.

  • Comment number 47.

    @45 It's not the limit that's the real problem, they're entitled to impose one if they wish, it's the way it's being advertised. If something has a 750mb cap then it's not Unlimited is it? Why are they allowed to advertise it as such?

    And I agree with comments about Android and the HTC Hero. I have one and will never look back. Beats the iphone hands down in my opinion.

  • Comment number 48.

    @Brian (45)
    The issue isn't really with the limit. Obivously they're a business and limiting does make practical sense. The issue is with advertising the service as unlimiited. Also, there isn't a way to pay for a higher cap even if you wanted to.

  • Comment number 49.

    It's the content restrictions that bother me more than the actual limit, unlimited or otherwise.

    Since we're not supposed to stream radio at work, I was hoping to use the iPhone to listen to the radio or LastFM or whatever over 3G. But those T&Cs say I'm not allowed to do that as it doesn't constitute "mobile browsing" whatever that is.

  • Comment number 50.

    I am absoutely fuming this afternoon after a phone conversation with the Orange upgrade team.

    I have been a customer for several years, and I am now eleigible for upgrade. I have also been informed I am at the top of the upgrade list being a band 5 and therefore should receive a hefty loyalty package.

    However, I was told I was to receive nothing and I would be treated as non-Orange customer. And as a result would have to pay for the iPhone as well as no discounts. I am devasted, after waiting so long for the iPhone to go onto Orange it looks like o2 is the way forward.

    Orange staff should be further prepped for this demand. It is a joke, so many Orange customeres are in the same position as me, it is only a matter of time when customers will realise this.

  • Comment number 51.

    Was really hoping Orange was going to come out with something much more competitive. I'm still sold on Tesco's unlimited Text & Call package when my contract comes up for renewal next.


  • Comment number 52.

    There is a petition on the Number 10 website regarding 'unlimited' data etc.

    As to the pricing, I was looking at buying a smartphone and I don't care about how 'cool' the iPhone pretends to be. That's not saying I don't like it, just that I'm not just going to pick it over everything else simply because it has an Apple badge on it. Is the N97 mini any good? It looks stylish enough. Also, what's the Ovi store like compared to the App store?

    At the moment I am with Vodaphone on a 30 day sim only rolling contract with 500 texts and 100 minutes for a tenner a month.

    Personally I would like to see price plans become more modular. I use texts almost exclusively so the huge number of minutes that the higher price plans include seem like a waste.

  • Comment number 53.

    In relation to my comments made in post 3, for the people who seemed to think i'd got my numbers mixed up, it would seem that i did...

    I actually found some links, it wasn't 160000 messages in a month, it was 303,398

    i also remembered about a guy who received a 12,000 page AT&T bill, sending 662,000 SMS in a month

    just because it may be physically impossible to send that many messages by typing them out, it is possible to send the same message to many multiple people at the same time, This is why we need clarification on 'unlimited' because if anyone tried this in the UK the networks would come down on you like a ton of bricks.

    i've only ever gone over my message allowance of 500 once, and by sending another 132 messages it cost me an extra £13 the limit of 500 is not realistic for the prices of the tariffs in addition to paying for the actual phone itself. With Phones like the iPhone and apple influencing the networks with the american model (24 month contracts, in addition of paying for the phone) Plus Best Buy and carphone warehouse also enforcing this model, i think the least we should get is the perks such as the word unlimited means unlimited, not 'oh upto a certain point that you shouldnt use, but if you do we might charge you for it...' The UK model for mobile phone contracts has worked so well in the past, is it just that people have embraced 18 month contracts so easily that theyre now moving onto 24 month contracts. (it would also help if they made phones like they used to so they actually lasted for the length of the contract too, but thats a different argument for another day)

  • Comment number 54.


    there is no comparison between the Ovi store and the App Store. The App Store is a few million light years superior. Pretty much any review of the Ovi store will tell you that.

    While there are folks who will purchase anything with an Apple logo on, the company is leading by a long way when it comes to applications and ease of the averager user installing them.

  • Comment number 55.

    I currently have a G3 iPhone with O2. I get a good deal on home broadband from them because I have a mobile account. I have used O2's Customer Services about three times and I must say they are, to me, a paragon. They are what all Customers Services should be like ... fast responses and knowledgeable. They are UK based (Scotland, I think) so I don't have to struggle to understand.

    I have had an Orange contract before and their Customer Services went rapidly downhill. My opinion is based on some time ago so I don't want to be unfair to Orange but the lasting impression they gave me was very poor indeed.

    O2 have got it wrong with their contracts ... mine (18 months) runs out in January and I won't get the new iPhone until I see what Apple offer in the summer. By then Vodafone may have had some influence on prices or contracts but, for me, O2 is still the best bet.

  • Comment number 56.

    I see my previous post has been referred to the mod's because someone thought it 'unrelated' to the contents of the blog. sigh..

    RCJ speaks of "..the price war that was supposed to break out.." and even gets ino the details: "..margin to undercut their rivals - about 11p in fact...".

    others too, appear know the cost of everything but show little awareness of the value of anything, for instance: "..for me O2 do a good job. And I think for the 11p saving.." (#9), and "..big thing I am waiting for is cheap/bundle roaming data.." (#27), and "What is the point of opening up the market so there can be increased competition if the prices are basically just 11p apart?" (#43).

    the fact is, and remains, that for our pursuit of the best deal, something, somewhere, has to give.

    in this case, real people pay with their lives for our privilege to use (smart) phones cheaply whenever and wherever we please.

    for a different, more challenging view of the world of cheap mobile phone services, see these (there are plenty other references for those who look):

    to conclude, the only people to think that there is no relationship between African peoples being butchered and our own cozy, privileged life-styles, are hypocrites.

  • Comment number 57.

    Brilliant Rory, you got the obligatory Twitter mention in an article that is completely unrelated to it.

    Way to go.

  • Comment number 58.

    I'm laughing at the suggestion that Orange will win over customers from O2 over network coverage. As a current Orange customer, and a previous O2 customer, I can honestly say that O2's coverage is far superior, in my area at least.

  • Comment number 59.

    "Remember the price war that was supposed to break out once O2 lost its exclusive contract to sell the iPhone in Britain?"

    No, I don't remember it. I didn't hear anyone say it, nor did I ever expect it. iPhone is a premium product, and was never going to be part of a price war.

    Who thought that it was going to turn into a price scrap?

  • Comment number 60.

    1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined: unlimited trade.
    2. boundless; infinite; vast: the unlimited skies.
    3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional.
    Isn't it about time corporations were banned from using this word, unless the services they offer are... well... you know... unlimited?

  • Comment number 61.

    I'd rather have Orange or Vodafone, because O2 has a horrible network. The data network keeps going down everyday, LITERALLY. I am actually phoning them today to complain, because I didn't buy the iPhone for £440 to have such a crappy service.

    I'd rather have limited service that works than a unlimited service that dosen't.

  • Comment number 62.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 63.

    @ peej2k6

    I disagree with you! I think its sensible business to have a fair usage cap in the terms. Why if I am a happy mobile/internet user should my experience be damaged by people in or around me on the same network point abusing the network with heavy downloads/streaming/tethering.

    People complain when Internet speeds are slow, well its usually because some nugget is downloading movies on a mobile broadband connection, and my blackberry ends up as slow as an old donkey. I for one suffer stupidly slow speeds at times. I'm glad that Orange have imposed a cap and fair use system to all the IPhone users.

    I get 250MB on my blackberry, why just because you have an IPhone do you all think you should have unlimited Internet. My phone will do all the same as an IPhone just in a less flashy way, it still surfs web sites, it still has an app store, it can still be used to tether, it can still receive emails, stream media. Why do you all expect preferential treatment? Most IPhone users should really get lives and stop spending so much time on them!

    Im trading my Blackberry in for an IPhone by the way!

  • Comment number 64.

    unlimited should mean without limits - or they should say limited.
    fair usage - my a**e - fair usage of the queens english.

  • Comment number 65.

    Not sure if this is the right place for my comment, but it seems no one else on the BBC websites has flagged up the fact that Orange does not provide Visual Voicemail on the iPhones they sell.

    I'm not an expert, but in my opinion this is a case of mis-selling. Nowhere in the product advertising material does Orange mention that a core feature of the iPhone is missing. Visual Voicemail isn't a third party application, it's a core feature of the phone, which has been advertised by Apple from day one of marketing. I was told by four individuals working for Orange that staff had been given training in which they were told that no feature of the iPhone has been tampered with or changed. At the time, Orange staff were not told that an important feature was missing.

    It does seem that the take up of iPhones on Orange has mainly been by those new to the device. These new iPhone owners are probably unaware that Visual Voicemail is supposed to be an integral part of the iPhone.

  • Comment number 66.

    60. hear hear - ban companies from misleading use of language. Unlimited should mean free from limits.

    I don't know why people are so obsessed with the iphone though, and contracts at that. For one there are better phones out there now - the N900 for instance, or HTC Hero.

    And two - it's a shame more people aren't aware of how much you can save by just buying an unlocked / pay as you go version of a smartphone and put in another SiM.

    I've got a Giff gaff Sim and I get limiteless browsing and I just stick it in my unlocked HTC. works a dream and I'm saving a packet!

    You can get Sim free / PAYG mobile deals on all the smartphones - iphones, Heroes, n900s -

    Think outside the box - don't just plump for a £40 contract because everyone else is!

  • Comment number 67.

    I never really saw an audience for these kinds of phones; outside of international businessmen who are too busy to breathe, why would you bother?
    I quickly changed my mind when I first got to grips with Apple's latest offering. It's still no substitute for PC/internet access; in fact it can be downright annoying trying to watch video on the touchscreen but there's so much fun to be had by downloading applications. I've gone from simulated PaperToss to answering questions about Film and back again through loads of fun games and tests.
    I've got to admit: the iphone really changed my mind on smartphones. I'm looking forward to finding out not only what Apple can do in future, but also how the competition will respond.

  • Comment number 68.

    I don't know about you, but my Nokia e63 mobile is a champ. Even their mobile online support is great. I'll take my Nokia over an iPhone any day. As many blogs on say, there's a wealth of cool new phones out there. But if I want to change phone companies, no jailbreaking here, I just have to change the sim. Take that apple!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Orange is not the only operator with limited 'unlimited'... In France, they all do that !


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