why isn't this advertised?

alecstilleyedye

nothing in moderation
Moderator
i've been looking into buying my 11 year-old daughter a new phone, and with the view that contracts offer better value i was considering getting one rather than endlessly topping up her payg phone.

however, the thought of her running up a massive bill put me off. not on any of the major providers' websites was there any mention of contracts where the bill could be capped.

anyway, i went into macc to look around the numerous phone shops and went into 3, who almost as soon as i mentioned my concerns told me that their contracts can be capped. brill, so she gets a shiny new 3g phone, 100 minutes of cross network calls and unlimited texts and internet access (safe surfing mode by default); i get the peace of mind knowing that she won't cost me more than the £17 each month.

my point is, i'm certain that anyone with a child with a phone would have the same issues, and if the phone companies advertised this widely they would make a killing.

or is it that they like the high bills thing and this under-the-counter capping thing is just to satisfy the regulator?
 

Moodyman

Guru
Capping is more trouble than it's worth for the operators.

The nature of mobile technology means that there is always a delay between usage on the network and that usage being translated into a billing format to be added to the customer's billing account. This delay can be as much as 48 hours in the UK and more if abroad.

Example - if you get someone who hammers the phone within a few hours - yes hundreds of pounds of usage can be run up in hours - that data may not reach the customer's account until tomorrow. This makes a mockery of the usage cap that you refer to.

Usage caps are used internally by companies as form of risk management, but not overly advertised to consumers.
 

marinyork

Resting in suspended Animation
Location
Logopolis
There were all sorts of problems with capping in the past. So things moved towards being able to check your bill on-line but some operators sites are so poor this is pretty difficult and of course not everyone can/wants to do this.
 

battered

Guru
Of course they don't advertise! I've had a phone fpor 2 years, same contract, never went over. Fine. Then I get a new girlfriend. Plenty of calls but I'll be fine, it's always been in the cintract before. Next bill, £200 please. Ouch. Now why do you think the operator never offered me a cap so it stopped working when I hit the limit? Let's take a wild guess.
 
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chillyuk

Guest
Moodyman said:
Capping is more trouble than it's worth for the operators.

The nature of mobile technology means that there is always a delay between usage on the network and that usage being translated into a billing format to be added to the customer's billing account. This delay can be as much as 48 hours in the UK and more if abroad.

They can manage to keep track of spending OK and cut off a bit smartish on PAYG so I see no reason why they can't do it on contract.
 

Moodyman

Guru
Pay & Go systems have only been around since 1999. The contract systems have been around since mid-80s and early 90s. The same network (transmitters) is used for both, but different billing platforms.

Usage capping was a big selling tool for a while and it largely worked, but it was phased out as it caused more trouble than it was worth.
 
Be aware that "unlimited" internet isn't!

For 3 this is in fact 500 Mb per month with the "fair usage policy" ans expensive costs if you exceed. Also some data is exempt from inclusion.

Note also that the texts are also NOT unlimited (although the cap is fairly high) again through the "fair usage" con

One more thing they don't "advertise"
 
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chillyuk

Guest
I am on PAYG with 3. I was on contract with them but didn't renew on expiry as I rarely use my phone now. When I top up with a tenner I get free 3 to 3 which is useful as my wife is on 3 contract, 150mb of internet and 300 texts. These add ons are valid for 3 months whilst the £10 credit doesn't expire.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
I got £5 per month for my son..... my old phone.. spoke to T-mobile - ah better not to cancel, and we can do you this........ 100 minutes and free texts...although not 'limited' on talk, which isn't an issue with lads........
 
alecstilleyedye said:
i've been looking into buying my 11 year-old daughter a new phone, and with the view that contracts offer better value i was considering getting one rather than endlessly topping up her payg phone.

however, the thought of her running up a massive bill put me off. not on any of the major providers' websites was there any mention of contracts where the bill could be capped.

anyway, i went into macc to look around the numerous phone shops and went into 3, who almost as soon as i mentioned my concerns told me that their contracts can be capped. brill, so she gets a shiny new 3g phone, 100 minutes of cross network calls and unlimited texts and internet access (safe surfing mode by default); i get the peace of mind knowing that she won't cost me more than the £17 each month.

my point is, i'm certain that anyone with a child with a phone would have the same issues, and if the phone companies advertised this widely they would make a killing.

or is it that they like the high bills thing and this under-the-counter capping thing is just to satisfy the regulator?


So that is £200 per year! Sounds a bit steep to me.

I bought my 11 year old a PAYG £20 phone (which was not cool enough so she bought her own touch screen thing for about £80). She gets £10 credit as a treat (earned not expected) every couple of months and that seems to keep her going in mostly texts plus the odd "come and pick me up" calls.
 
My friend whose 16 year old sent thousands of texts got clobbered with a two hundred pound bill. When she contested it as it seemed that there were 'unlimited texts' on the contract, got the 'reasonable use policy' waved in her face. Basically the phone companies can do what they like!
 

buggi

Bird Saviour
Location
Solihull
i would have stuck with payg because she can at least send a text off to get her balance. with the cap, she won't know it's ran out until she can't make any more calls/texts. I would have then said you get £10 a month on the 1st of the month and that's it.

i think O2 do unlimited texts if you top up £10 a month, so at least if she couldn't make calls she could text.
 

dav1d

Senior Member
buggi said:
i would have stuck with payg because she can at least send a text off to get her balance. with the cap, she won't know it's ran out until she can't make any more calls/texts. I would have then said you get £10 a month on the 1st of the month and that's it.

i think O2 do unlimited texts if you top up £10 a month, so at least if she couldn't make calls she could text.

On on of the PAYG plans, for £15 per month, you can get unlimited (though fair usage does apply) texts and calls to other 02 mobiles, plus you still have the £15 credit to spend.
 

BearPear

Veteran
Location
God's Own County
Unlimited (unrestricted) interwebs for an 11 year-old? Interesting.

My kids have unlimited texts and my daughter sends hundreds (often into 4 figures) each month. I wondered if she'd get caught out with the "fair usage" clause but so far it's been OK. They both got phones on a vodaphone contract at £17 per month for 2 years. After one year they swapped phones and they are happy bunnies - amazing co-operation for 16 & 18 year olds.
 
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