updated 09:10 am EDT, Fri June 11, 2010
Orange and Vodafone may curb data use too
New leaks suggest Orange UK will follow O2 into abandoning unlimited data. The rival currently promises unlimited data with a 750MB "fair usage" policy but would have more definite limits in the summer. A source for Mobile didn't say how closely Orange would follow O2's plan, which limits most users to 500MB and has them pay for blocks of extra data.
Rumors have also circulated that Vodafone is following suit. T-Mobile UK may follow Orange's patterns given the recent regional merger between the two competitors, but 3 UK has usually focused heavily on data and may use larger caps or unlimited data as an edge.
The changes would follow a trend of previously unlimited carriers around the world going to limited plans but reflects the squeeze on mobile data use from smartphones like the iPhone 4, which has prompted caps at AT&T and O2. Unlike landline data, where capacity upgrades often just involve adding more or faster lines, cellular data is inherently limited by the amount of available wireless spectrum and cell sites. Carriers may use caps as opportunities to hike data rates but also do so to try and moderate data use among the most frequent users.