Research from Broadband Genie has found that many mobile broadband users are potentially being excessively charged due to poor usage calculations.
The price comparison website has alleged that many mobile ISP’s are not adequately forthcoming about the pricing structure of their packages, especially where usage limits are concerned, and that estimated usage calculations show wide variations between different companies.
An example of this is that Virgin Media estimates a downloaded document to be 0.1 megabytes of usage, whereas Vodafone estimates the same document as being 30 times larger, at three megabytes. The same two companies consider a downloaded MP3 track at three megabytes and eight megabytes respectively.
In addition, despite its popularity and bandwidth usage, data streaming is not included in the pricing structure, and since it can easily lead to usage in excess of an allotted monthly limit, can easily lead to hefty surcharges.
“We realise these companies are rivals, but they should discuss this for the good of consumers and be more consistent about how they portray these estimates,” said Broadband Genie’s editor Chris Marling. “It is left to consumer sites such as ours to offer advice, but also to pick up the complaints about ISPs. And some are even worse: O2 and BT only have a couple of examples of usage values, but no calculator, while T-Mobile has nothing at all. It really isn't good enough.”