Networks rule out unlimited 4G plans

We have said before that data use is on the rise every year. Now the average smartphone user on EE’s 4G network uses around 1.4GB in a month thanks to all the high speed services such as Netflix or YouTube.

Three have already announced they are not charging a premium for 4G once they launch later this year. They’ll be using the 1800MHz spectrum acquired from EE and a new 800MHz which was won in the recent auction.

This also means that customers will be able to access unlimited internet on plans offering AYCE data, and anyone on The One Plan will be able to enjoy 4G tethering too.

Networks rule out unlimited 4G plans

However recently at MWC the CEO’s of EE, Vodafone and O2 have all come out and stated that they will not be offering unlimited packages once their 4G networks start to be available this year (EE are already operating on their 1800MHz spectrum).

MobileNews has a quote from the CEO of each network and they have said:


“You can’t provide good quality and unlimited at the same time. Of course, I could give unlimited to everybody but that leads to a degradation of the service. If everyone has unlimited then you kill the performance of everybody else.

I know some operators do it and I’m glad I am CEO of Vodafone and not them”


“We’re not going to go unlimited. We simply can’t promise our customers a high quality of service if we’ve promised them an unlimited connection.”


“Obviously a lot of people like the idea of unlimited data because it does not cause bill shock. But if you have tariffs like we have in the UK then you solve the key problem for customers. With 1.4GB being the average usage, you can simply create the right packages that support that.”

What are your thoughts on 4G and what has been said? Are you happy to pay a premium but get a better quality of service or would you prefer to have 4G included at the same price as you already pay?

Why not discuss below…. especially as data use is a hot topic at the moment

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  • ubmjason

    that’s why I’ll stick with three. The other network couldn’t get it right on 3g until three showed them the way, it’ll be the same with 4g/lte. That’s how three took their customers away & will continue to do so. If they add 4g to p.a.y.go.then it’s game over part2. Can’t wait.

  • PVA

    In my view, why even bother investing in what will be a very competitive 4G market, if you’re not actually prepared to compete? This is like introducing motorways in place of single lane roads, then limiting how many miles you can drive per month. Short-sighted…

  • Mike

    Completely agree with @ubmjason. Three give a great unlimited service without degradation and the CEO of Vodafone’s comments are laughable.

    • ubmjason

      Lol cheers mike!

  • Anonymous

    Yup, I’m with you guys. I think I’ve probably said here before that these ‘averages’ are BS.

    If the average use is 1.4GB, that means 0.4GB over the ‘average’ plan that’s out there at the moment (most deals do seem to be a 1GB bundle). How is this figure reached though?

    I think unless you offered a whole bunch of customers unlimited data for a year, and then took your averages from that, you’re going to come up with a skewed result. People are afraid of exceeding the limits and that influences peoples average consumption.

    Also, with more Wifi available these days in homes and offices, there’s less consistent need for mobile data. The need comes when you’re out and about and fancy watching a film streamed from Netflix, download a couple of albums or do some app updates. That stuff soon eats through a paltry 1GB allowance.

    I think I’ve said a number of times that if they are going to be stingy with the data allowances, they should at least allow rollover data – and for a few months too. You’ve paid for it after all.

    I’m pretty sure that as soon as I get a chance after 4G goes live, I’m going to switch to the 3 network.

  • Eric

    unless I am mistaken, for instance, I checked the o2 site just now, the max data on 3G they offer on Pay Monthly is 4gb(@24mth, £47) and Simplicity is 2gb (@£36 for rolling 1month contract or £26 for 12month contract), no unlimited data. So why should they suddenly offer unlimited data for 4G?

    3 already offer it on their 3G service, so it would be worse for them to say they are reducing it for their 4G offering then the others to increase to compete.

  • They don’t even have to offer unlimited. If they put a fair use cap of say 50GB in place, most people would not use anywhere near it and then those that do will be prevented from going over that amount.
    The problem is, they want to offer 4G with data allowances like 4 and 5GB which is simply rhubarb!
    You can’t blame it all on the networks though. It’s down to the fools that are willing to pay. There are actually people out there paying EE just for the novelty of having 4G, when they could be paying half and getting unlimited on 3G. I don’t have any problems watching the BBC in HD or YouTube on my 3G connection so why would I pay double just because it says 4G?

  • Martin

    It is so easy to eat up gig of data. My daughter has recently got her first job and travels on trains / buses to get there, it’s not far but takes 30 – 40 mins, so she spends the time on her phone tweeting, watching You tube vids, texting, facebook etc, the first month she busted her 750meg limit by over 400meg, cost me a bloody fortune in excess charges. If she’d been on 4G she would have used even more….why you ask? Well with the extra speed comes either less buffering / lag, which means you can watch more or the ability to watch the you tube vids at a better quality, thereby using more data. It is stupid to say people don’t need higher allowances. I stream loads of music / movies / TV episodes at home, I also work from home 2 or 3 weeks out of 5 and constantly use in excess of 50gig a month. And that is on a connection that barely reaches 3meg DL speeds. If I had a faster connection I’d be watching the HD versions of the movies / TV episodes I download rather than the SD versions, thus using more bandwidth. What is the point in giving users the capability then strangling them with god awful limits on how much you can use it? 4G limits should start at 5gig.

  • mist1

    Sorry guys but you forget that readers of CSP are not average people. My wife got over her 500MB limit once. It’s easier for 3 to offer unlimited data as their subscriber numbers are much lower than the O2, Vodafone or EE. I tried 3 but the number of dropped calls increased drastically – if you have great signal with 3 it is the way to go.

  • 01skeptic

    I find 4G plans as well as being forced to change to a different plan to get 4G, quite a ripoff …4G is all about using mobiles predominantly for internet access, promoted and advertised for ongoing faster internet access, watching movies on the go. Currently EE’s plans – I guess O2 and Vodafone will be the same-offer the same as other provider’s plans on 3G and more expensive. You cant offer a plan with 1GB allowance on 4G costing more than an equivalent on 3G. No value whats so ever…For me it would only make a sense if the minimum internet allowance on 4G would be lets say 4GB at the price of the current equivalent 1GB plan on 3g. Whats happening now…look at iPhone 5 £41 on EE for 1GB internet allowance, £37 on Vodafone for 1GB allowance as well…Why should I change to 4G if I don’t get more.?.You cant offer a Ferrari and restrict people how far away to drive it as you restrict an electric powered car in the city. You cant offer faster more reliable internet and bill people the same way on older patterns of data use. Of course people will want to use more video calling more music and video streaming when they move to 4G..