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The Internet is currently a forever changing network and everyday it is getting more involved in our lives. While people may debate if this is a good or bad thing one problem that is facing this is wireless Internet connections. There is little reason not to agree that our current mobile network is crap and compared to most of the world just looks like the UK throw something up overnight.

Originally major phone networks such as o2 offered mobile Internet connections on an unlimited package as, back then, it was next to impossible to actually use the Internet connection in any way that would be harmful to the mobile network. This changed however when smart phones started to become more common and started using mobile internet for far more than just e-mail and the odd web browsing. Smart phones started to allow people to view the Internet in mostly the same way as they are used to at home.

Suddenly smart phones created a new market and mobile networking companies jumped at the offer to create profit. In doing so they started to offer unlimited Internet data transfer and so much more. This all worked well for quite some time however these companies started to notice a problem – they sold to so many people that they basically just oversold the whole network.

So what happened after this. Did companies learnt that they should upgrade the network, make changes which would improve the network or maybe even admit that they oversold and then sort out the problem. No they did not do any of them. Instead they changed the meeting of “unlimited”. According to many network providers and indeed even the Advertisement committee agrees with them on this is the meaning of unlimited – any amount more than what a person would use.

So by that logic, if I used 1GB a day then unlimited should be more than 1GB a day then ?

Well no, you see they then define “unlimited” as more than what the average user uses. Within the last year or so major mobile networks decided that unlimited is 500MB as most people never, ever go above that limit. So logically you would think if people do not go over that limit then it is fine and for the ones that do that the mobile networks companies could just suck up the lost of that data transfer to keep people happy.

Well the answer is no, they do not. They charge a far higher price of data transfer to those users in order to make more money. The problem is the reasoning behind it. The main reason they changed it to a “fixed value” is because they have oversold their network and this is a way to keep everything in control. But with more and more people now using smart phones and with the internal operating system now working so much like a desktop operating system that people have started to use the Internet on it full-time.

There are many users whom now uses sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and much more and these uses a hell of a lot more than 500mb of data transfer. So lets see how much 500mb actually can give.

500MB 1GB
Basic webpages (mainly text) 5,000 10,000
Rich webpages (with multimedia, e.g. BBC) 1,500 3,000
Basic e-mails 500,000 1,000,000
Rich e-mails (with attachments) 1,000 2,000
Downloading/streaming music 100 songs 200 songs
Downloading/streaming video 1 hour 2 hour

So tell me when you use your computer, do you:

  • Spend more than an hour or so on YouTube ?
  • Download 100ish songs or listen to online radio for an hour or so ?
  • … in fact, do you do anything on your computer ?

Ultimately 500mb is not really enough for the home markets these days and now it is slowly not enough for the mobile market. Thing is though, will mobile network companies upgrade their networks or will this be a case where the likes of China has a far faster mobile internet then use, far higher usage allowance and heck – even the USA has more than us and the USA normally is the first one to cap everything.

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