O2’s “free Web Bolt On” is not free at all!


Right now I should be packing my bags for a lovely long weekend away. But I have had to post to share my utter disbelief and frustration.

I have just had a letter from O2, my mobile phone provider. It reads:

This letter concerns your O2 Web Bolt On data usage. Your usage is significantly above the normal levels we expect to see with this product and we think you may be in breach of our terms. O2 Web Bolt On is subject to terms of use which stipulate that all usage must be for private, personal and non-commercial purposes and that you may not use your SIM Card:

  • in, or connected to, any other device including modems.
  • to allow the continuous streaming of any audio / video content, enable Voice over Internet (Voip), P2P or file sharing;
  • or in such a way that adversely impacts the service to other O2 customers.

Then there is a paragraph where they try to sell me O2 Mobile Broadband for £20 a month.

It then continues:

Unfortunately, if your usage continues at your existing level we may remove O2 Web Bolt from your account in accordance with terms of use.

Yours Sincerely

Paul Wilkinson
Credit & Risk Management
O2 (UK) Ltd

So, it appears O2’s Web Bolt On is only free when O2 decide it is free. No surprise there I guess.

HOWEVER, what does annoy me is that when I bought the phone I checked with O2 staff in the Birmingham Kings Heath shop that streaming video to the web was included in the free Web Bolt On. They told me they didn’t know and that they hadn’t realised you could stream straight to the web, but as long as I wasn’t downloading music or videos I would probably be fine. They advised me to phone customer services to double check. I did. They didn’t know either but as nothing had been charged to my account they told me to assume that it was all ok.

So, since then I’ve been happily streaming from Qik and using Fring (chat and Twitter only) FOR MY OWN PERSONAL USE. I don’t even use my work Twitter account on my own mobile.

It seems to me that O2 are penalising those who use mobile web to its full capabilities and must rely on people’s ignorance in order to claim to offer a “Free Web Bolt On”.

The ignorance of their staff doesn’t help much either.


Mobile phone woe

I ran out of time to post anything more from my time in Preston, but I doubt it will be the last time I refer to it as it has had quite an impact. At the moment I think I’m suffering from brain burn. I can’t remember the last time I used the old grey matter so intensely for so long.

One thing that came out is that I am in serious need of upgrading my mobile package. Playing with the Nokia N95 made me realise I need to find out how mobile Internet is working and how that might effect people who use The Post website (and how I might do my job as a journalist).

I don’t get a work mobile and my current personal mobile is talk and text only. I will have to change it but the thing is, I’m on a really good tariff. I signed up to it with BT Genie back in the day when I was a student and BT was experimenting with selling online. Because I never moved O2 keeps me on it to stop me going elsewhere.

It includes:

  • £10 a month contract
  • 50 free off-peak minutes every day (1400 a month).
  • unlimited free texts a month

Good, huh? If I try not to use it for work calls during the day too much then it’s a very good package. So, relunctant to lose the contract I phoned O2 today to see what they could offer me. I have two options.

Option 1: Internet bolt-on

  • 2MB a month for £3
  • 4MB a month for £5
  • Unlimited access for £25

Option 2: Change of package to Online 35:

  • £35 a month contract
  • 600 free mins a month
  • 1000 free texts a month
  • Unlimited internet access for £7.50 a month extra

I think it’s probably going to end up with me taking the bolt on, but boosting my outgoing on a mobile from at least £10 to at least £30 is still a pain in the arse. The other thing is that it would not allow we the handset upgrade. If I wanted an 8GB N95, for example, I would have the pleasure of paying £249.

So, is there a better contract out there?