O2 recently announced that Pay Monthly customers will lose their free access to The Cloud wifi services as of February 2012.
If you’re on a data plan with O2, you may be aware that you currently have free access to both BT Openzone and The Cloud as part of your contract. Handy for making sure you’re not using your limited data allowance when you’re in a public place.
Sadly, as of 1st February 2012, O2 customers won’t be able to use The Cloud for free wifi. O2 say all data customers will still have access to BT Openzone and also to their own wifi networks (but O2 wifi networks are free to anyone, anyway).
This probably has something to do with the sale of The Cloud to BSkyB. Bit of a shame really, as there are The Cloud hotspots at my local train station and at various other public places that I use – but no major loss I guess.
giffgaff has recently announced that it will, on October 10th 17th, be launching it’s latest service – data only goodybags.
These goodybags will be destined for iPad, tablet and mi-fi users who like to use their mobile connection to provide internet to other devices. Tethering will be permitted with these special goodybags.
Users may be required to order a seperate SIM for their tablet or mi-fi. Once activated, three packages will be available.
500MB for 30 days: £5
1GB for 30 days: £7.50
3GB for 30 days: £12.50
These seem to be very competitive pay-as-you-go prices. The nearest competitor is 3, however they have a reputation of much better coverage and data speed than other networks.
giffgaff insist that the goodybags are sold at “cost price” – meaning giffgaff makes a loss if you use all of the data in your goodybag. A bold move – and one which could be extremely risky. giffgaff are betting on some people not using all of the data in their allowance, but I’m not confident this will be the case.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how popular the goodybags become.
To order a free SIM with giffgaff and get £5 free credit on activation, click here.
Despite loving mobile broadband, I have to say that the cost of maintaining it is still very high. Even with 3’s very competitive rates, it is still very expensive. At £10 per single GB, that’s a very high rate. Of course, you can get multiple GBs at cheaper rates, but you still have the annoying 30 day limit with most networks. If you don’t use the data within 30 days, you loose it.
Mobile broadband has been around a fair old while now. It took off when networks starting giving birth to 3.5G services (or HSDPA) which offered speeds that were comparable to home broadband speeds. The USB dongle brought easy connectivity to the mobile networks, whilst in more recent months the Mi-Fi dongle has made mobile internet much more convenient.
I really do think it’s about time mobile networks started offering cheaper data rates for mobile broadband. The cost of providing bandwidth is falling and networks should start passing these savings onto customers.