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O2 UK Launches Unlimited 4G Mobile Broadband Data Plans

Friday, September 13th, 2019 (8:26 am) - Score 26,510
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After Three UK led the way, followed by Vodafone, then EE and today mobile operator O2 has become the last of the major UK providers to launch its own “Unlimited Data” (mobile broadband) tariffs for 4G and future 5G customers, which are available on both their Custom Plans and SIM-only contracts from £33 a month.

We should point out that Three UK has been playing the “unlimited” (all-you-can-eat) data game for the past few years, although the gradual launch of 5G services and the moves to target the fixed broadband ISP market seem to have finally nudged their rivals into following suit. Once Vodafone jumped then it was only a matter of time before the rest followed and now they have.

O2’s Unlimited Data plans – also called “Limitless” on their site – will start from just £33 per month for an 18 month SIM-only plan but you can also get it with all the usual Smartphone plans and so forth. At present this is for their 4G tariffs but O2 says to expect the same when their 5G network goes live in busy parts of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds next month (here).

NOTE: Unlimited data is also available as part of the Family Plan, including the O2 Family discount as well as O2 Open and O2 Students plans.

Nina Bibby, O2’s Chief Marketing Officer, said:

“We’re excited to be unveiling our Unlimited Data plans today. Now there’s no limit to what you can do on O2. As the customer champion, O2’s mobile plans have always been designed to put customers in control, and with the option of unlimited data on our award winning network, we are now providing our customers with the ultimate choice.”

However O2 are known for hiding caveats in their small print and the T&C’s suggest they may be a bit less forgiving than their rivals: “Fair use policy applies, personal and non-commercial usage only. If you regularly use 650GB of data per month or tether 12 or more devices we may consider this to be none permitted use and have the right to move you to a more suitable plan. EU roaming capped at 20GB per month, chargeable at 0.4p per MB afterwards.

By comparison Vodafone tends to cap most of their unlimited plans by mobile broadband speed (except the top one), while EE and Three UK both have what we’d call a soft cap of 1000GB. Essentially the operator might contact you if you’re regularly using over the stated level, although they generally won’t disconnect or limit you.

In O2’s case we suspect the suggestion of moving “you to a more suitable plan” is a vague reference to their business tariffs (i.e. your usage might be deemed commercial but that’s often easy to argue against), which is the same sort of language as EE have used.

Meanwhile customers on O2’s Custom Plans who want to upgrade early from another handset will need to pay off the remaining balance of their device plan first. And by recycling an old device through O2 Recycle, customers can receive a cash payment which can be used toward their upgrade. Customers who want to keep their phone after their device plan comes to an end will only pay for their monthly airtime plan from that point. From 4th October customers on an O2 Custom Plan can also flex up to Unlimited Data plans.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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45 Responses
  1. Avatar Mibu

    And so it begins. They should of all done this years ago. Let’s hope the price drops even further when 5g becomes the norm.

  2. Avatar craski

    With 4G “unlimited” plans now becoming affordable that will help a lot of people ditch satellite systems but on the flip side it will also potentially erode the market for WISPs. Satisfying a USO using 4G now feels a lot more credible than it did 12 months ago.

    • Avatar TechGuy

      The good thing about a WISPs is that the speeds tend to be more stable than that of 4G

    • Avatar craski

      Agreed. WISPs typically have more consistent latency too. I use/operate a small WISP and the case to invest/expand that further gets weaker all the time.

  3. Avatar johnf

    Its not unlimited. Its not limitless. “Now there’s no limit to what you can do on O2” That’s a lie. The limit is 650 Gb.

    I’m glad we have ISPreview to call out these liars. 650 Gb isn’t much on 4G and its worthless on 5G.

    • Avatar Mike

      £33 per 650GB if O2 is your only option isn’t too bad.

    • Avatar johnf

      @Mike Thankfully its not the only option. I got the Vodafone unlimited max when it came out, which so far is actually unlimited – I did a bit less than 2TB last month and not a peep from them. And only £20 a month after cash back.

    • Avatar Mike

      What kind of speeds are you seeing? I’ve heard they’ve been capping it for Unlimited Max package.

    • Avatar Leex

      In this area 130mb on 4g+ on vodafone

      I not had it for 4 months yet so any restrictions they usually put in place are probably not activated yet (as that’s what they did with free unlimited data for 3 months on a limited plans so I expect so thing might happen to the speed after 3 months in contract)

    • Avatar Mike

      To be fair you’ve got to work hard to reach 650GB a month.
      I’m on three’s unlimited and haven’t managed to exceed 150GB a month and that’s with three people regularly surfing, streaming and downloading.
      To all intents and purposes, 650GB a month is unlimited.

    • Avatar johnf

      @Mike That’s utter nonsense. 3 people only use 150GB in a month? I used 50Gb last night downloading the new COD beta. I also watched quite a bit of 4K Netflix yesterday. Its 7Gb an hour according to Netflix’s website.

      1.5 – 2 Tb a month is me going easy, just me. Perhaps 150Gb is ok for 3 old fashioned people watching broadcast TV and just reading the news and few websites.

      But its not the issue. Its like a restaurant advertising all you can eat, and then in small writing saying 2 plates maximum. You’re arguing 2 plates is plenty, its just not the point. Call it what it is, and in this case its not unlimited, its not limitless, its 650Gb – the whole thing is a scam.

    • Avatar Fred

      I do agree that it is misleading. For those who say 650Gb is enough – that is just their opinion based on their experience. For example, I have just got back off holiday with about 1TB of photos I want to back up to the cloud.

      I regularly use about 1TB+ a month and I am not a really heavy user. For what it is worth I believe Vodafone start to ask questions when you hit 2.5TB a month but a quick call with support and you are going again.

      I use Vfe as I get the best coverage with them. Would not touch this O2 package as it does not sound like it would meet my requirements.

      F

  4. Avatar kaptainkandikat

    It’s unlimited subject to a limit .

    Just like ee, avoid where possible

    • Soft caps aren’t the same as a strict limit. As the article says, Three and EE have very similar terms, albeit with the soft cap being set higher.

    • Avatar Mike

      I suspect the soft cap is more of a bluff.

    • Avatar Leeman

      It’s not easy to reach 650GB a month.
      Streaming or downloading an hour long ultra HD movie will consume just under 3GB according to netflix so that gives an indication on how difficult it will be to consume 650gb a month.
      I mean given that is the most data intensive task, how many movies can a person stream or download in a day.
      Constant web Surfing and music streaming or downloading will hardly make a dent so yes to all intents and purposes it is unlimited.

    • Avatar Leeman needs a dictionary 2k19

      @Leeman

      unlimited
      ADJECTIVE
      Not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity, or extent.

      The only “limit” should be the maximum number of bits you could download if you had it running 24/7 for the entire month.

      650gb is NOT “unlimited” since that is a “limit”.

      Therefore, the OP of this post should write in the title ‘O2 UK launches “unlimited” 4G’.

      Please do learn what words mean, we have dictionaries for a reason :).

    • Avatar Leeman

      Everybody knows what the term unlimited means hence my use of the words to all intents and purposes.
      Maybe you need a dictionary for that.
      In other words, in all practicality, a user will not exceed 650gb a month and even if they do all O2 are saying is they may (or may not) investigate to ensure it is not being used for commercial purposes which is against their t&c.
      No where have they sated 650gb a month is their limit.
      The terms are fair and in all interpretation’s, unlimited.

    • Avatar Dave

      Unlimited has a specific and long accepted meaning. It’s always annoyed me how telcos and isps use the term unlimited to mean anything but.

      The argument that it’s effectively unlimited is nonsense as that really depends on the user or household. It matters not what the typical or average person does with their connection as unlimited plans are aimed at high users and will obviously attract the highest of those.

      Think about a house with 3-4 kids downloading games and updates and watching 4K video. This doesn’t even take into account the parents or friends of the kids, other visitors etc.

      Use of the word unlimited in this context is at best disingenuous and at worst fraud.

      My typical monthly usage has only been below 650GB a few times in the last few years. Quite a few months are above 1TB and a couple of months are close to 2TB. If you take into account there are only two of us in the house, imagine what would happen if we also had kids!

      Contrary to what a few might claim, I am not trying to break some kind of record or downloading everything on the internet just because I can, this is just normal usage. Such users are not rare these days and will only become more common as bandwidth guzzling applications become more widely used.

      I blame all this squarely on Ofcom and the ASA.

  5. Avatar ASH

    Three gives YOU unlimited everything for £20.

    • Avatar Tim

      Smarty is £18.75 for a 1 month plan that you can cancel at any time.

    • Avatar David Smith

      I unfortunately took out a 3 unlimited 4g plan only to discover that the download speeds sit in the range of 5 Megs a second even at 3am when most people are asleep. So I could never get to any cap and have been told that you can’t cancel or reduce the plan. Very disappointed with 3.

    • Avatar John Harkness

      Or even £16 a month with a free router thrown in.

    • Avatar John Harkness

      That’s with Three if you are an existing customer. So get a free SIM first and test that you can actually get a good signal, and then sign in to your account and you can get the £16/month

    • Avatar Mike

      Main problem with Three is the lack of 4G+ so a lot of the time you’re stuck on the 800Mhz band which then gets over saturated.

  6. Avatar robert scriven

    When the BT landline contract runs out in Feb next yr, im moving to mobile broadband, been stuck on 14mb for too long.

    Shame our 3 signal is poor here, but virgin/EE should get me 50mb+ and 10-25 upload.

    Im sure most people who have been left behind on openreach copper will do the same.

    • Avatar Gary

      I did recently and as the plans become more reasonable and the kit more mainstream I believe you’re right.

      I went from a shade over 1M with ADSL to 45M with a mikrotik LTE, Unlimited on EE.

      Surely O2 advertising here breaches ASA regs, you cant blatantly state unlimited and then put a Cap on it, Its either Unlimited or it’s not Hiding behind ‘Fair Use’ doesn’t change the definition of Unlimited.

    • Avatar Lee

      650gb on O2 on a mobile phone is quite a lot but 1000gb on ee and 3 FUP is extremely very fair (vodafone FUP unsure what there’s is)

      Its not like USA where unlimited is 21-25gb high speed cap depending what big 3 your on (at&t, Verizon or T-Mobile) usa they charge for 4g (real 4g LTE not fake 4g icon witch is DC-HSPA 3g lol)

    • Avatar John Holmes

      I am on Three and old number is ported to VOIP, 50mb DL, no stupid line faults that take 5 visits to fix as they only appear during rain, no fighting to get the line looked at when it no longer gets its normal 8mb as BT insist its only good for 2mb, no random disconnections when a neighbours line gets repaired and they kill yours in the fix, goodbye old un-maintained 20 year old copper line.

  7. Avatar JOSEPH

    I sought a contract through Carphone Warehouse for O2, 40gb for £43 p/m worst decision I ever made was to use them, now I avoid them like the plague. I moved to EE and they’re exceptional. I took out a contract for P30 Pro 512gb, 60gb, insurance, £68 p/m phone was delayed so I was compensated with a 15watt wireless charger RRP £60 and promotion at the time was Sonos 1 Gen Speaker RRP: £200 unable to provide said device they credited me the money and I immediately reduced my bill by 4months which I initially intended to do anyway. Due to the Hiawei controversy the price deflated over night and hysteria ran wild, I decided to hold fast and not sell my device because I knew I was in a winning position, i explained to EE my concerns and frustrations with the device and they allowed me to upgrade even though I’m not on a smart plan upgrade anytime, the Irish are pedigrees for Customer Service 🙂 I decided on the Note 10 + 256gb, 60gb Smart Plan, they upgraded my data to 100gb free of charge because of complication and negligence on their part. I can’t fault EE they have been extraordinary. My Gardener came to provide some work and expressed his frustrations about Virgin Media Mobile, after some investigating I realised he was on a O2 pay-as-you-go sim only 5000 texts, 500 minutes, 2GB for £10 and due to having a learning difficulty was being charged £1 a day for 50mbs which is extortionate! I immediately brought that forward to ensure the £11 left in his account wont be deducted any further, I contacted Vrigin Media Mobile on his behalf and found out he was paying £23 p/m for 1,500 minutes, 2000 texts and 3GB of data, daylight robbery!, I contacted two separate departments both of which where located in the Philippines and resulted in a long and arduous process due to language barriers, so I contacted a local store in Liverpool and sought the advice of an advisor whom suggested I contact the bereavement department and discuss it further with them, I eventually succeeded with an account termination and due to the ethical practices being violated they waivered the fees. I contacted his bank and requested a financial indemnity for them debited his account without his consent and I contacted EE and enrolled him on a new contract: 20gb, unlimited everything else for £15 p/m data caps and spend caps attached to ensure no extra fees and flagged his account as vulnerable so when an advisor interacts with him they refrain from using technical jargon. I’ve written this today to demonstrate to you how modern and considerate EE’s practices are. I run my account in a regimental fashion so I can only speak for myself and Tony but I hope this helps in some way. 🙂

    • Avatar Josephisadick

      But ee is still crap

    • Avatar Paul Green

      Christ, you could try and at least make it all readable, even with a couple of paragraphs.

    • Avatar Leex

      And I thought my post was long, ee are generally fine I been with them for years (over 20 years as it was originally Orange ee is just the merger ee name)

      I found that Vodafone and O2 have overall best housed area coverage (that may be more part on O2 having the pole masts on the pavements witch vodafone share) where as ee and three typically have less optimised office building cell installs or on top of traditional mast install

    • Avatar Jake

      Are networks not duty bound to prevent people from being ripped off with legacy tariffs and being billed punitive overcharges?

      I suspect some serious income is being made from the people left paying inappropriate tariffs.

    • Avatar Leex

      Networks can do what ever they want (but it’s in there interest to keep you happy)

    • Avatar CarlT

      Helps in no way, shape or form, largely because I didn’t read the post in question as it is incomprehensible.

      English of a primary school standard would be appreciated and would help hugely in decoding whatever message the post is trying to express.

  8. Avatar Leex

    Now we get to see who has the best hidden FUP

    my bets is O2 but Vodafone really shaft you hard in the when you run out of data on there data limited plans so they are bound to have something in their unlimited data contracts (that Might happen after 3 months)

    I also have 3 unlimited data (below 5-20mb) but very surprised how fast Vodafone network is I see above 130mb often witch is about 4x more then what I get on ee normally (unless i am in one spot where I must be getting 3-4 carrier aggregation as I get over 250mb at this one specific location)

    Three I typically get under 5-20mb speeds (see if that changes tomorrow or Monday when I get a s9 duos as that has 6CA support)

    Can’t see me getting EE unlimited data deal because they just charging too much for it and there charging more for the 5G unlimited data option even on data limited products where as other 3 providers have 5g included in all their Unlimited contacts and don’t charge extra for it

    • Avatar Fred

      The VFE unlimited data works to 2.5TB then you have to talk to support to go beyond that to convince them it is not business use. At least that is what I have seen reported. Not sure if you do this every month then there will be a problem – too soon to know.

      Been over 1TB for the last couple of months, no issues yet.

      I just use cellular for bulk and failover. For day to day I use FWA.

      F

  9. Avatar gerarda

    What I can do on O2 is severely limited by the loss of coverage after I mistakenly renewed my contract with them

    • Avatar Stephen Wakeman

      A bit of clarification wouldn’t go amiss there. You can’t lose coverage by renewing a contract and coverage usually builds upwards rather than regressing. Unless you’ve moved house to an area of poor coverage and still renewed with them. You have a 14 day cooling period BTW. In any case your post doesn’t make it clear what the issue is.

    • Avatar Craski

      When our area was “upgraded” to 4G some of the smaller old masts got decommissioned so areas that did have excellent 2G coverage lost all coverage so regression does happen sometimes.

    • Avatar gerarda

      O2 blamed trees. Apparently these had a mysterious growth spurt and blocked the signal.

    • Avatar Captain.Cretin

      Last night I noticed that at some point in the recent past, my O2 home connection was switched to B1 and not the usual B20.

      Go up the road a few hundred meters and it is B20 again.

      O2 also bought that 2300MHz band last year, and have been roiling that out, so it could be your phone just doesnt have support for the newer bands they are using.

      Sadly NONE of the networks publish what frequencies they are using on their masts, you have to manually download an app and search them out yourself.

      I wish I knew what they were doing with B20, a lot of newer phones from Xiaomi no longer support it, not even the new Redmi Note8, their latest budget offering.
      And I’ll be buggered if I pay through the nose for some of the tat the mainstream brands sell, after ~6 years of Xiaomi’s budget wonders.

  10. Avatar WolfreaK

    Does it matter? If it costs £10… it doesn’t worth it.. o2 4g is crap, I’m o2 customer within contract unfortunately for years, and 4g speed is pain. In my area their website says strong signal inside and outside and it’s good only for stuff like this.. dropouts, slow. If you want speed to replace wifi connecting at every stop you do, o2 is not for you…

    • Avatar Cpatain.Cretin

      How are you testing?

      If I use Speedtest.net, or one of several other speedtest sites, they seem to think I am in London, and pick a London server.

      Manually switch to a test server located somewhere nearer and speeds suddenly go up by a factor of five.

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