Users won’t need unlimited data on 4G, mobile chiefs claim

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According to comments made at the recent Mobile World Congress event by the heads of leading UK mobile networks such as EE, O2 and Vodafone, users do not need to have unlimited data plans when they start using 4G services.

At the event, the UK CEO of EE, Olaf Swantee, along with Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao and O2 UK CEO Ronan Dunne, told attendees that by offering unlimited data packages to smartphone and tablet users, mobile networks would be compromising the quality of service experienced by customers. Other networks such as T-Mobile and Three already offer unlimited data packages for their 3G network customers, and Three has recently confirmed that it will offer the same kind of package when it’s 4G service goes live. However, mobile chiefs from other networks don’t believe that unlimited data is a good idea on 4G. VittoriaColao, from Vodafone, said that unlimited packages are not only unsustainable, but they could also prevent operators from meeting their responsibilities with regards to preventing loss of service and slow-downs on their data networks. Colao said at the Mobile World Congress event:

“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.”

As 4G phones in the UK will benefit from superfast service when the 4G rollout is complete, customers are likely to have concerns about burning through their data too quickly. However, EE seems to have taken these worries into account and has accordingly created packages and plans tailored to the data requirements of different users. EE’s CEO Olaf Swantee, echoing Colao’s comments and confirming that EE will not be offering unlimited data packages on its 4GEE tariffs, focused on the needs of the customer, as well as the responsibilities of the networks, in his keynote presentation to delegates at the Barcelona event, saying:

“Unlimited data plans are not really necessary. What customers want first and foremost is no bill shock.

“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.”

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Although it may not seem to be the case, not having the option of unlimited data may actually be good news for customers. Unlimited data plans can be very costly, with many users not actually needing as much data as they think. Without the expensive unlimited data option, all users will now have to do when signing up to the 4G network is choose an affordable tariff and look for the best Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Nokia Lumia deals.

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