Opinion

Orange scores own goal with iPhone 4 plans

Following the news last week that O2 is to can unlimited mobile data plans on the iPhone, Orange has revealed its pricing plans for the iPhone 4, reducing its fair use data limit to 750MB across its business and consumer price plans, with only the most expensive 'Infinity' business plan exempted.

This discrepancy demonstrates outstanding ignorance of how smartphones are used and is exactly why I left Orange when I upgraded to my first smartphone earlier this year.

Okay, I get that data loads on mobile networks are becoming unsustainable; O2 is frequently unusable in London and T-Mobile has its iffy moments as well. Something needs to be done.

But advertising 750MB as an "unlimited" plan is taking the mickey and I think Orange is in dodgy legal territory by making such a claim.

An enterprise business customer claiming his monthly bill back on expenses is not going to care about going over his limit, but for ordinary users and small businesses the extra charges will quickly mount up.

The mobile networks are trying to shut the stable door after the data horse has bolted, and smartphone users should rightfully be up in arms.

What is needed is not arbitrary limits that stifle the full business potential of smartphones, but investment in network infrastructure that will enable these game-changing devices to be used as their makers intended.

This was first published in June 2010

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