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Does O2 plan to charge £900 an hour for 4G?

In response to an earlier story about Nokia’s decision to ship its coolest new phone technologies to the USA only, we’ve been contacted by a couple of readers to ask about UK data charges. We’re not Watchdog, but the point raised is valid. KitGuru breaks out the Pedigree Chum and chows down.

At the time of writing, one of O2’s data plans offers customers the chance to ‘Bolt on 100MB of downloads for £3’.

If you’re working with a phone in the same was as you did LAST CENTURY, then this could be plenty. In fact, go careful with emails and attachments – and this 100MB of bandwidth could well last you a month or more.

Roll of the drums, dramatically building low bass hum and hit the spot light. Enter 4G.

Right now, O2 is playing with full-blown 4G speeds to a small group of people in Slough, west of London (outer marker for da Ali G West Staines Massive posse).

If all goes well, there will be a second stage test for 1,000 people across an area of 40 square kilometres in London and the surrounding bits. After that, we’ll all start to reap the benefits – with the clever money saying ‘Summer 2013’.

So, with the 4G planning/roll-out well and truly under way, let’s return to the initial calculation.

Sources close to O2 are saying that, if done well, the new network would bring down a 500MB file in 1 minute. The same sources also say that this is 5x faster than would ever be possible with 3G. So, according to these numbers, O2’s present 100MB for £3 bolt-on service would price the 500MB file download at £15 and that takes 1 minute.

After several hours programming our Terascale Super Computer, we reckon that this puts O2’s data service at £900 an hour – if you download a solid file at maximum speed on 4G. If any of you boffins think we have the number wrong, please let us know.

While the UK prepares for some 4G action in 2013, people in the frozen wonderland of Lithuania have enjoyed these speeds for years.

KitGuru says: With O2, Vodafone and the Orange-Flavoured T-Mobile goodness of EverythingEverywhere bidding like there’s no tomorrow for licences, just how much of a burn will the telco companies results take from moving to 4G?  They can’t ignore it, because consumers will be drawn to it. Likewise, even if it costs £ Billions to buy licences, the charge for data use must PLUMMET from its present levels – or no one will use it. So that’s a year of increased costs with reduced charges. Thinking of buying telco shares anyone?

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