Complain to Ofcom about O2 Tethering Charges

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by SayCheese, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. SayCheese macrumors 6502a

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    #1
  2. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #2
    No, the worst case is O2 feel compelled to remove tethering completely - they've never offered it before and if it becomes a choice between potentially flooding their network with loads of tethered iPhones for no revenue at all and removing tethering completely, they'll probably go with the latter...

    I really don't understand the sense of entitlement that everyone seems to have nowadays: O2 are offering an additional feature for the iPhone for additional cost. The equation is pretty simple, really - pay to use the feature if it means that much to you, or don't use it.
     
  3. jmmo20 macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Telefónica offers tethering at no extra charge in Spain.
    You should all complain to the media and Ofcom.
     
  4. SayCheese thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Also O2 advertise the iPhone as having unlimited data. Why can I download a file over the phone for free but if I want that file to bypass the phone and go straight to the computer I have to pay?
     
  5. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #5
    O2 actually advertise it as having unlimited data on your phone and have always had a clause in their Ts and Cs prohibiting tethering. The rationale behind this is simple - unlimited use of data on the phone will actually be limited by the phone itself - you can't download torrents for a start, or large movies, etc. Unlimited on a tethered connection would lead to people using far, far more than they would untethered. In this context, unlimited means as much as you can consume on the phone.
     
  6. thefunkymunky macrumors 65816

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    Then just have the same "fair use policy" applied to tethering than they do when not tethering. If you use the connection excessively then you'll be charged extra. If you don't use any more data then you would on the phone then it should be included in the tariff.
     
  7. Phatzer macrumors regular

    Phatzer

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    The iPhone comes with unlimited data; that is "Unlimted" (even though they dont rule out caps) for the iPhone. Plugging in your laptop effectively means you are not using your data plan for iPhone use, but for laptop use, this is why tethering charges apply. You are paying for other devices to use your iPhone as a modem.

    What I very much disagree with is, that they are charging a set amount for other devices to use your iPhones data plan, yet its capped, and very tightly too. Given the amount we pay out for the iPhone contract, associated tethering charges should be around £7.50 per month for 5 GB of transfer. That would seem reasonable to me.
     
  8. Carniphage macrumors 68000

    Carniphage

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    #8
    What are O2 going to do about it?

    Either intentionally or not, Apple have made it very easy to enable tethering for free.

    This is going to irritate O2 and AT&T.

    But what exactly can they do about it?

    C.
     
  9. GreasyWeasel macrumors member

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    #9
    We should all complain to Ofcom but not using the 'unlimited internet' bit as the main point. O2 allow tethering using any other phone without an additional charge. eg. If I had a Nokia capable of being a modem then I could use that without paying an additional charge but because I have an iPhone they want to charge me a minimum of £15 per month.
    Surely that is good grounds for a complaint.
     
  10. thefunkymunky macrumors 65816

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    #10
    If I download from the App Store, buy songs from iTunes or stream music using the Big Top 40 app on my iPhone I am not charged extra for data - its included in my tariff.

    Now, if I was to do exactly the same thing on my computer while tethered, O2 want to charge me a £15 per month premium. Its wrong and doesn't make any sense.

    I can totally understand there will be the odd excessive user but just have a 10MB single file download limit like the App Store does.
     
  11. Phatzer macrumors regular

    Phatzer

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    That definitely makes sense. I'd happily settle for a per-file download limit of 10MB, although for people out there using things like torrents, I think they can set how big of a file the torrent application takes from each node, meaning that people could get away with downloading huge files through their phones still.

    Tethering makes no difference to me in any case, I don't have a laptop or anything to plug in to it, but I can definitely understand the frustration.
     
  12. thefunkymunky macrumors 65816

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    #12
    O2 can no doubt just block P2P traffic over the cell network.
     
  13. samab macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Why don't you complain to the police that you are the only person getting a ticket for jaywalking or speeding by 5 km then? They let 99 out of 100 people off.

    The rules have been around since forever. O2 is just beginning to enforce them.
     
  14. samab macrumors 6502a

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    Telefonica also has iphone data plans with 100 MB data allowance per month in Spain --- you can blow your month's data allowance on tethering in minutes.
     
  15. Nicolasdec macrumors 65816

    Nicolasdec

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    #15
    I do agree with some people that its crazy for iphone users to think we can get Tethering for free. However £15 for 5gb is stupid. If It was 12-16gb for £15 I would sign up today.
     
  16. johnwin macrumors 6502

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  17. jmmo20 macrumors 65816

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    #17

    that's not entirely accurate.
    Data plans in Spain are unlimited. And for Telefónica here in Spain "unlimited data" means "unlimited data", no data cap whatsoever.

    WE have a different kind of cap, a speed cap. There are now 3 data tariffs:

    -200mb = 15 eur/month
    -1gb = 25 eur/month
    -3gb = 39 eur/month

    So.. you have 200/1gb/3gb of data at 3G speeds (+4mbps) and when you go over, the speed decreases to 128k.

    In practise the cap is very rarely enforced. For example I have the 200mb tariff and this month I used 500mb and I'm still downloading at 3G speeds. When your speed is actually reduced to 128k, it's not that much of a big deal since I can still stream music perfectly fine.
     
  18. GreasyWeasel macrumors member

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    #18
    Your analogy is complete garbage. I have done nothing illegal, I am merely pointing out that they do not have this tethering payment in force for any other phone. I couldn't careless either way since I'm fairly sure I'll never use it but the way O2 have gone about pricing it does seem a little heavy handed and stupid. I may have even paid for tethering if they had done a 'pay as you go' style option where you pay for say 5GB up front for £10-15 and you only then pay more once you have used it all up irrespective of how long that takes. For someone to pay £15 or more every month then they need to use this feature regularly.
     
  19. LondonDude89 macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Agreed!

    If you don't agree to O2's Ts & Cs, don't sign an agreement with them and don't get an iPhone.

    O2 already give you mobile internet, wifi and the ITS service for free. Everyone else has to pay £18 a month on top of their contract if they want these features added, even if they are on an equivalently priced tariff.

    Why should iPhone customers get upgraded early for free?
    Why should iPhone customers get tethering for free?
    Why should iPhone customers get ANYTHING extra for free, just because of their choice of handset?

    iPhone customers agreed to an 18 month contract with unlimited internet ON THEIR PHONE. If you don't want to pay extra for tethering, then don't use it!
     
  20. samab macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    The rules have been in place forever. O2 charges something like £1 per MB if you tether.

    http://forums.crackberry.com/f75/o2-laptop-tethering-50289/

    Pricing is determined by supply and demand. The going cost of a dongle plan is £15 a month (some with subsidized dongles for free and some with higher data allowance per month).

    You are paying the going rate for maybe a little less data allowance (i.e. from 3 UK) --- but that's the luxury of carrying one less device.
     
  21. fixmymac macrumors regular

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    #21
    OFCOM here i com!

    Hi,

    I mailed O2 support to ask them to explain the difference between using the iPhone directly and tethering. Here is the highly complex 'answer'.

    Good Morning Kevan

    Thanks for emailing us about our Internet Tethering service.

    I understand your concern, as your iPhone Bolt On already includes unlimited Internet and Wi-Fi allowance.

    Kevan, I would like to inform you that Internet Tethering lets you connect your iPhone 3G to your computer and use it as a modem so you can get on the internet, a bit like mobile broadband. This is the reason Internet Tethering is different from data feature.

    To use this feature you need to add one of our iPhone Internet Tethering Bolt Ons.

    If you've any account related query, please reply to this email with the following information:

    last bill date
    last bill amount.

    When we receive the above information, we'll then help you.

    I hope you appreciate that we work within the confines of Data Protection Act and need to confirm your password before we discuss any account specific information.

    I hope you'll find this information useful. We request you to please keep checking our website using the link below for the most up to date information that we have on the new iPhone 3G S:

    http://www.o2.co.uk/iphone

    Kind regards

    Business Customer Service.



    As the title of my post suggests.... time to complain to OFCOM.

    I think a separate thread specifically on this matter would be helpful so that complainers can note their experience etc.

    UPDATE: Just spoke to OFCOM. The guy i spoke to instantly knew what my complaint was about when i mentioned iPhone and Tethering. I think this is a good sign that several people are raising complaints. I was also told that they need as many people as possible to lodge a complaint so that the can take things forward.

    Given that AT&T have been forced into a change of policy, i think people power may help convince O2 to do the same.

    OFCOM contact number is 0207 7981 3040 or 0300 123 333.

    UPDATE 2: Just found the following snippet on the internet. Text is lifted from a Google translation of the Telefonica (O2 parent) website.

    Let us start with the confirmations. Tethering and MMS or "share internet" supported from day one. The "internet sharing is a feature included in the price data and therefore is not considered an extra service or pay more for it. This is important because the iPhone is a 3G modem and fantastic for this use is more than interesting.

    O_O

    Comments....anyone???

    UPDATE 3: I replied to the above comments from O2...

    Hi,

    I asked for an explanation as to how tethering is different from using the iPhone for mail and web browsing etc. I didn't get one.

    Looks like i will be joining the people complaining to OFCOM. This appears to be daylight robbery.



    They replied with more rubbish...

    Good Afternoon Kevan

    Thanks for emailing us about the iPhone tethering.

    Kevan, as previously advised in our email, Internet Tethering lets you connect your iPhone 3G to your computer and use it as a modem so you can get on the internet, a bit like mobile broadband. Therefore, Internet Tethering is different from data feature.

    With Internet tethering on iPhone, you don't need a Wi-Fi hotspot to surf the web from your computer. Now, you can share the 3G connection on your iPhone with your Mac notebook or PC laptop and connect to the Internet anywhere. When your iPhone is tethered, you can still send and receive data and make phone calls.

    You won't be able to use this feature if you don't opt for one of our Internet Tethering Bolt Ons. They give you a bundle of data and unlimited Wi-Fi from our partner The Cloud's 5,000 hotspots (BT Openzone hotspots to follow).

    To view the details of our Internet Tethering Bolt Ons, simply visit the link below:

    http://shop.o2.co.uk/update/internet.html

    I'm sorry you're considering complaining to Offcom. Kevin, we try to provide best value for money to our customers and I understand your concern about the charges. However, please understand that the prices for product and services are decided by the manufacturer and the marketing team. While deciding the price they consider the prices prevailing in the market for that particular service.

    I hope you'll find this information useful.

    Have a great weekend.

    Business Customer Service.


    I decided to give it one last go...

    Hi,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Unfortunately, you have still not provided a satisfactory explanation for charging iPhone customers for the Tethering feature.

    Put simply, internet traffic is internet traffic. O2 are claiming that internet traffic to iPhone is somehow different to internet traffic to a laptop. That is utter rubbish. A gigabyte of data is a gigabyte of data. Are you expecting me to believe that a 10MB file downloaded to my iPhone is somehow different to a 10MB file downloaded to my laptop?

    O2 advertise the iPhone tariffs as having 'Unlimited data, email and Visual Voicemail' and 'Unlimited Wi-Fi at over 7,500 Wi-Fi hotspots through The Cloud and BT Openzone networks'.

    O2 offer the Internet Tethering Bolt On at £15 per month. This gives customers 3GB of data and 'Wi-Fi - Unlimited in 5,000 hotspots via The Cloud (BT Openzone hotspots to follow)'.

    But hang on just a minute! The tariff already includes 'Unlimited data, email and Visual Voicemail. AND, it also includes 'Unlimited Wi-Fi at over 7,500 Wi-Fi hotspots through The Cloud...'

    Can you tell me how much data i can use if i sign up for Internet Tethering? Do this sum for me; Unlimited + 3 = ???
    Can you tell me how many The Cloud Wi-Fi hotspots i can access if i sign up for Internet Tethering? Do this sum for me; 7,500 + 5,000= ???

    Now tell me why i don't get access to those 5,000 hotspots on my tariff. Why do i need the Internet Tethering Bolt On to get access to them? I will help you out on this one. The answer is actually quite simple. Those hotspots i get access to when i pay for the Internet Tethering Bolt On are, in fact, the same hotspots i am already paying to access via my tariff.

    I can't figure out the Unlimited+3 sum so i will let you answer that one for me. However, i am going to hazard a guess at the answer.

    I am going to guess that the 3GB you are asking me to pay for with the Internet Tethering Bolt On is, in fact, part of the 'Unlimited data & email' that i am already paying for via my tariff.

    If my answers above are correct, then O2 are trying to charge iPhone customers twice for the same thing. That is bad Karma. OFCOM will come to get you!

    So, one last chance for O2 to give a proper explanation here. I am happy to wait for the one that is surely being prepared for when OFCOM knock on the door. I am not alone, there are hundreds more people who feel the same way. Some of them have already spoken to OFCOM and opened cases with them.

    Get an honest, and clear, explanation of these charges on your website asap. We can then let OFCOM decide who is right.

    Best Regards,
     
  22. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #22
    Actually, people who have been doing that have been breaking O2's Ts and Cs: They used to have a bolt on to allow tethering (which was £20, I believe) but dropped it when they released mobile broadband. In short, O2 have always prohibited tethering for free and have prohibited tethering at all for at least a year (I spoke to them about it last year including communications with the CEO office so it was definite policy).

    It is actually a change of direction for O2 to permit tethering with the iPhone. Also, the tethering charge comes inclusive of free, unlimited, WiFi access for your laptop at all BT Openzone and TheCloud hotspots so it's not a bad deal.


    Just because they didn't have controls in place to physically prevent people tethering doesn't mean it was allowed...
     
  23. fixmymac macrumors regular

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    #23
    A simple, common sense, approach.

    Why can't they limit traffic to only what the iPhone is capable of and enforce the same caps etc that are in place.

    If people want unrestricted access, let them pay for that.

    I would like to make use of tethering for checking e-mails and some basic surfing as, and when, i need to. I may use 1 megabyte one month, then none for the next 3. Makes no sense to sign up for more than i need.

    Complain to OFCOM!
     
  24. andy007 macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Stoke, UK
    #24
    It would be nice to have a few more tethering options of prices and allowances instead of just one.

    I have used the tethering hack and I was impressed by the speed in which pages loaded. However the bolt on is just too expensive for something I might only use now and again. If there were cheaper options I would go down the official route.
     
  25. samab macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    AT&T changed its iphone upgrade policy --- 24 hours after RIM announced that Verizon Wireless and Sprint are launching the new Blackberry Tour in the summer (the same July/Aug/Sept that the new upgrade policy was targetted). They didn't do this because of a few twitters complaining, they did it because they fear the Verizon/RIM combo.

    Telefonica in Spain also have iphone data plans that have only 100 MB data allowance per month. You are going to blow your monthly iphone data allowance in a few minutes of laptop tethering.

    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/06/spains-iphone-3gs-plans-as-bad-as-old-3g-plans/
     

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