Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet EU Networking The Almighty Buck United Kingdom IT

40GB of Data That Costs the Same As a House 188

Posted by timothy
from the it's-where-and-when-that-costs dept.
Barence writes "PC Pro has an infographic that reveals the extortionate cost of roaming data. They compared the cost of data typically bundled with a fixed-line broadband package (40GB) costing £15, with the cost of buying that data on various mobile tariffs. Buying 40GB of data on a domestic mobile internet tariff from Orange would cost the same as an iMac; buying the same quantity of data on O2's non-Europe roaming tariff would cost £240,000 — or the same as a three-bedroom house."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

40GB of Data That Costs the Same As a House

Comments Filter:
  • by Hadlock (143607) on Friday July 01, 2011 @03:59AM (#36631482) Homepage Journal

    You can get a 3 bedroom house on a quarter acre in a respectable neighborhood for $130,000 (that's £90,000 in metric dollars for you british types). Sure, we won't have enough water for our population when the apocalypse comes, but in the mean time 3 bedrooms here is considered on the small side.

    • by Dutchmaan (442553)

      You can get a 3 bedroom house on a quarter acre in a respectable neighborhood for $130,000 (that's £90,000 in metric dollars for you british types). Sure, we won't have enough water for our population when the apocalypse comes, but in the mean time 3 bedrooms here is considered on the small side.

      ...but in Texas 3 bedrooms will get you a master bedroom, a children's bedroom and a bedroom for the mother's big ass bleach blonde hairdo.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      The house I rent in London has 3 bedrooms (plus another room which is about as big as a double bed). It's "worth" about £600,000. It's in a nice area, has a very small garden, and is 3 minutes walk from a tube station.

      For some reason no-one is willing to build decent houses/flats in English cities. Many European cities have large areas of 4/5/6 storey residential buildings, but not here.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Maybe they're willing but not able....

        • by bernywork (57298)

          They are able, but not willing. A lot of people in London and a lot of English, don't want their city going up and up and up in height. A lot less natural light, and more people. They don't want London turning into Singapore which is the way that it would go if the developers had their way.

          • by Nursie (632944)

            I lived in London for a decade and don't remember being asked about that...

            One problem with London of course is the land, which is not really conducive to skyscrapers. But the things is that instead of building upwards, the property owners of London have spent the last couple of decades subdividing. Properties in London are now absolutely tiny. I never bought property there because the huge price you paid in return for no space whatsoever just didn't seem worth it. Of course from an investment perspective I

            • by bernywork (57298)

              The technology is there for artificial foundations (You don't need a giant slab of granite or sandstone to build on any more) and has been for a while, this is how they built the old ABN AMRO now RBS building on Bishopsgate and the Gherkin. Around central London from the local councils, you can get planning permission for a sub-divide as your not going up.

              As a generalisation, a lot of people in London don't want to change the general look of London. They are tied to it's history and the idea of rapid change

              • by Nursie (632944)

                I only left last year, so it probably hasn't changed a lot in the last 15 months, I'm guessing.

                I wouldn't necessarily argue for building upwards to accommodate more people, I would be much more in favour of building upwards to give people more space.

                Not that I'd be completely decided each way, but I'm sure there are enough crappy areas in the city that nobody would miss :)

                • by bernywork (57298)

                  I wouldn't necessarily argue for building upwards to accommodate more people, I would be much more in favour of building upwards to give people more space.

                  Yeah right, like that's going to happen. You give a landlord / developer the ability to build upwards and you could nearly photograph the pound signs flashing in his eyes......

                  Not that I'd be completely decided each way, but I'm sure there are enough crappy areas in the city that nobody would miss :)

                  Quite a few actually, both north and south of the river. I guess there is only so much money for the local development authorities to work with....

            • by xaxa (988988)

              I lived in London for a decade and don't remember being asked about that

              There was a proposal to build a 12-storey residential building on some spare land behind the local High Street, which was rejected after all the rich people said they didn't like the idea of having more people living here. What they meant was probably that they liked their existing rental income. (I wrote in and supported it, but I don't have a six-figure salary.)

              But the things is that instead of building upwards, the property owners of London have spent the last couple of decades subdividing. Properties in London are now absolutely tiny.

              That is exactly the problem. Student accommodation in London is the worst offender, IME -- probably because students are relatively poor but real

              • by Nursie (632944)

                Couldn't agree more, the whole thing is ridiculous.

                I also find it offensive when politicians and newspapers in the Uk talk about building more "affordable housing" by which they mean building things as small as they can get away with, out of cheap materials, and charging what (inflation adjusted) a reasonable house would have cost a decade or so back.

                Affordable housing should be about making decent housing affordable, not cramming in tiny, cheap boxes wherever you can shove them.

                Lack of space is one of the

                • +1 Here in the East of England, South Cambs District Council boasted in their magazine a while back that the new town Cambourne had an even higher housing density than planned and higher than ever before in the region.I thought they should be apologising, not boasting.
                • Or you could just have moved oop north...

          • by xaxa (988988)

            They are able, but not willing. A lot of people in London and a lot of English, don't want their city going up and up and up in height. A lot less natural light, and more people. They don't want London turning into Singapore which is the way that it would go if the developers had their way.

            I can understand arguments against building 20+ storey buildings everywhere, but I don't see a problem with putting 5-storey buildings in large areas of inner London, yet they don't get built either.

            Nursie's comment about subdividing is exactly the problem we have (and it means we have the additional people anyway, and less space per person). I'm 25, and I'm sharing a house with three friends. For the same money I could rent a tiny flat (i.e. subdivided house), and have hardly any space.

            I'd rather have a

          • by Joce640k (829181)

            A lot of people in London and a lot of English, don't want their city going up and up and up in height. A lot less natural light, and more people. They don't want London turning into Singapore which is the way that it would go if the developers had their way.

            So the developers are willing, but not able (people won't let them). It's what I said.

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        For some reason no-one is willing to build decent houses/flats in English cities. Many European cities have large areas of 4/5/6 storey residential buildings, but not here.

        For whatever reason, the closer to the city center, and the lower the population density, the higher the value of the property. In addition to that, someone who can afford to occupy a piece of land that would normally house ten families a) usually doesn't cause problems for the landlord b) often times makes improvements to the property an

    • by JWSmythe (446288) <.jwsmythe. .at. .jwsmythe.com.> on Friday July 01, 2011 @04:20AM (#36631574) Homepage Journal

          Food and water can be acquired. The more important thing we've lost is our hunter/gatherer survival instinct. If there were a serious ELE, the first waves of heavy deaths (assuming no traumatic ELE cause like the sun exploding), would be at the 1 to 2 week mark, as people died of starvation and dehydration. Water is abundant, if you know where to look, and are willing to consider drainage retention ponds, canals, and other bodies of fresh water. Of course, there would be plenty of human inflected deaths too, fighting over canned goods and bottled water. Don't believe it? Consider what people will do to each other on "Black Friday", and that's for a fucking discount on unnecessary material possessions. Along the same lines, watch your local news. Murders, rapes, theft for the sake of theft. Realize that your local news is covering a small area, and then multiply it by the number of metro areas world wide.

          People will lie, cheat, steal, and murder for that last can of spam, or bottle of water, but won't eat their own dog, or drink from the swimming pool. Ya, if it gets bad enough, Fido will make some nice BBQ.

          Back to the topic though...

          Vendors will sell at prices that the market will pay. They're not raping you. You've bent over, handed them the lube, and said "Here's $200/Mb. I'll be back in a month for more."

          When people stop paying the outrageous prices, the price will come down. Only that, or fair competition will keep it in check. Fair competition, unfortunately, will only bring it down to a point where all parties profit margins are satisfied. They have to keep the share holders happy, after all. No company does anything out of the goodness of their own hearts. They're in business to make a profit, and you, the consumer, have shown them what you're willing to pay.

          Just like our survival instincts, we've forgotten that we, the customer, are in control of the companies. If they don't service us the way we want, we have the choice to go elsewhere. If there is no other option, we have the choice to not use their damned service. Do you really need a cell phone that plays movies, music, gives GPS directions, and (for the ladies) have the extended vibrate feature? No. You got one to make calls on. You've all been swindled by the vendors into paying more for the prettier newer phones, the add-on services, etc, etc. ... and that's how I feel every time someone complains that prices are too high, as they cut the check for the bill. "This costs too much, but oh well, I'll pay anyways."

      • by macraig (621737)

        Consumer ignorance and/or apathy is the WORST thing that can ever happen to an economy. If the ignorant are the majority, they wreck the market even for those who aren't ignorant. "Whatever price the market will bear" is a meaningless phrase when consumers don't know how to estimate cost to produce and don't know or care about profit margins.

        Sadly, where and when I'm living the ignorant typically are the majority.

        • by Renraku (518261)

          So, let's assume that all the American citizens suddenly got a hair up their asses about cell phone data plans and were clamoring for legislation or for prices to drop. Do you think companies will lower their prices just because it is what the citizens want?

          Hell no. They're not going to kill the geese that lay golden eggs. They're going to continue to not upgrade their infrastructure so that they can look good when Congress comes a'knockin and asks why text messages cost ten cents each for less than a ki

          • by ThosLives (686517)

            So, let's assume that all the American citizens suddenly got a hair up their asses about cell phone data plans and were clamoring for legislation or for prices to drop. Do you think companies will lower their prices just because it is what the citizens want?

            No, they'll lower prices in the face of lower revenues because some revenue is better than no revenue, and they'd rather have it than their competitors. That's assuming, of course, that the market doesn't suffer from (even informal) collusion where all

            • by macraig (621737)

              ... And thus the socialists laugh at the libertarians because markets are dominated by irrational actors, the libertarians laugh at the socialists because markets are dominated by unethical and uncooperative actors, and the capitalists mock them both for being so wishful and pre-scriptive in a world that only tolerates de-scription, all the while mis-educating and raping them all at every opportunity. Vive la market noir! [Forgive my bad French.]

          • The horrific rates in the article are for Roaming and Non-Europe Roaming - i.e. they have to deal with a supplier in another country, the European charges ahve just been capped (by the EU), but in other countries the charges are whatever the local carrier wants to charge ....

            SMS messages the worst though, the traffic and management overheads required to keep your cellphone on the network uses more data than any person would use in SMS messages in the same time, unless you are fastest than the fastest txt

          • Texting is actually more expensive if you don't have a plan than uploading data to the moon via satellite link.

            Including the costs of the receiver, and of getting it up there.

        • +1

          we spend more on our mobile phones and services than people in some countries have to live on, by a considerable margin.
      • by Hadlock (143607)

        Water is abundant, if you know where to look, and are willing to consider drainage retention ponds, canals, and other bodies of fresh water.

        There are no natural bodies of water in Texas, though. Except that "lake" that sits on our eastern border, far from any major population centers. People forget that the Mississippi is notable in the fact that it's our only truly navigable river on the entire continent. It's also worth pointing out that Dallas is only 100 miles north of Cairo, Egypt. The main difference

        • by Chrisq (894406)
          Is that apart from Lake Abilene, Lake Alan Henry, Lake Alvarado Park, Lake Amistad, Lake Amon G. Carter, Lake Aquilla, Lake Arlington, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Athens, Lake Austin, Lake Averhoff, Lake B.A. Steinhagen, Lake Balmorhea, Lake Bardwell, Lake Bastrop, Lake Baylor Creek, Lake Belton, Lake Benbrook, Lake Big Creek, Lake Bob Sandlin, Lake Bonham, Lake Bonham State Park, Lake Brady Creek, Lake Brandy Branch, Lake Braunig, Lake Bridgeport, Lake Brownwood, Lake Bryan, Lake Bryson, Lake Buchanan, Lake Buffa
      • There are enough people that would shun such a tarrif that it will eventually be re-figured somehow. A few people will be caught in its web with a bill that's plainly awful. What's wrong is that there's not a way to prevent those hapless few from being really totally burned.

        And so we call them out, mock them, and vilify them for their stupidity in hopes that shame will cause them to change. But corporations, especially telcos with monopolistic attitudes, are incapable of shame. It's the nature of such entit

      • by Kjella (173770) on Friday July 01, 2011 @06:18AM (#36631964) Homepage

        Just like our survival instincts, we've forgotten that we, the customer, are in control of the companies. If they don't service us the way we want, we have the choice to go elsewhere. If there is no other option, we have the choice to not use their damned service.

        Ah, the capitalist manifesto - almost as far detached from reality as the communist one. Yes, that's what all companies like you to believe even when they got you by the balls. And there's a mutual understanding with your competitors that price wars are bad so we'll all offer the same overpriced, underperforming service and your only real option is to exit the market altogether. No TV, no phone, no Internet... hey, how are you on slashdot at all? I'm pretty sure you're feeding one of those vendors that you rave about to be here. Unless you're on a small regional ISP, in which case they're paying the megacorps instead of you.

        If you really believe that we don't need laws against false advertising, antitrust, first sale, price dumping, any of those consumer laws that give us rights. DRM is fine, if the market doesn't want DRM it'll be rejected - you don't own a DVD drive that supports CSS do you? Clearly that means you wanted it and an industry-wide association didn't shove it down your throat. Doesn't matter if you use it or not, you paid for it and they can say the public doesn't care and everyone has a DVD player that supports it. Same goes for any computer with DVI/HDCP or HDMI - which is now most computers bought in the last decade.

        Reality is that the "invisible hand" of the market can be trussed up like a pig. Oh, you might be allowed to run around in a small pen to give you an illusion of freedom, but you're not going anywhere. Sometimes the government helps, but often it's more than enough that the government stands completely aside - which is something libertarians will never admit. You're only in control insofar that you could go all Amish on them and start your own self-sufficient agrarian society. As long as you don't want modern medicine or anything, because that's all ruled by megacorps too. But I guess 99.99% of us aren't willing to go there so then we deserve everything we get, right?

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        Murders, rapes, theft for the sake of theft. Realize that your local news is covering a small area, and then multiply it by the number of metro areas world wide.

        English people who have not been to the USA might not understand this. I was in Huston and the news was on, running down shootings, car jackings, armed robberies, and so on. I was listenling vaguely, thinking that the USA is a big country so there must be more of that than in the UK. Then they said "and now the news for the rest of the state"! WHat I had thought was for the whole of the USA was just the local news for Houston.

      • by houghi (78078)

        Do you really need a cell phone that ...

        You could even ask if you need a cell phone. I live in a student city and as always, students will get X amount of money. X has not changed (except for inflation).

        Where students would spend part on housing, part on food (ok, spaghetti every day) and the rest on beer. Now part of that beer money goes to mobile service and the ISP.

        Don't forget people usually have only X amount to spend. So if you spend it on one thing, you can't spend it on something else. (No matter wh

      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        Careful with bodies of water, during e.g. a flood you should stay away from water as it'll likely be heavily infected and polluted, enough that you'll die from it.

    • by zAPPzAPP (1207370)

      How do I have to imagine a "4 bedroom house"?
      A bedroom is any room I can place a bed in. So does this mean it's a house with 4 rooms that are not already kitchen, bathroom and so on?

      • by xaxa (988988)

        How do I have to imagine a "4 bedroom house"?
        A bedroom is any room I can place a bed in. So does this mean it's a house with 4 rooms that are not already kitchen, bathroom and so on?

        Pretty much, yes.

        Bedrooms ~= Number of rooms - kitchens - bathrooms - defined communal rooms (living rooms, dining rooms, whatever you want to call them).

        My parents, now that I've moved out and my sister's moved out, have a 4 bedroom house with 2 bedrooms (theirs, my brother's), a spare bedroom and a "study" (aka room full of junk).

    • by Gordonjcp (186804)

      Aren't those houses built out of thin sheeting tacked to thin timbers? Basically a packing crate with windows cut in?

    • by ewanm89 (1052822)
      UK house prices and UK mobile phone providers.
    • Move to Vermont. We got 60 acres for less than $200,000. Actually don't though, because we like it rural.
      • Depends what you can do with it ... If all you are allowed to do is farm it, not build a house on it then it is not worth much ...

      • Yeah, I've never really understood this about the NE. It is beautiful even if the winters are a little longer/harsher. But even on the east coast the population is pretty sparse in places. I wouldn't mind Vermont one bit and loved my vacation to your lovely state a couple years ago.
    • by kyz (225372)

      Land is cheap when you steal it.

  • by Dutchmaan (442553) on Friday July 01, 2011 @04:00AM (#36631484) Homepage
    I remember the days when a three bedroom house would only cost you 640kb... ahhh those were the days!
    • I remember the days when a three bedroom house would only cost you 640kb...

      That ought to be enough house for anybody.

  • by drolli (522659) on Friday July 01, 2011 @04:00AM (#36631490) Journal

    That seems to be an extremely labor intensive task. Every packet is obviously checked manually.

  • That's Cheap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by igreaterthanu (1942456) * on Friday July 01, 2011 @04:02AM (#36631498)

    A few years ago my mobile provider (Vodafone) charged NZ$0.10 per 10kB block of data. That is NZ 41.9 million per 40GB or £21.6 million.

    Luckily they are much less unreasonable now.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday July 01, 2011 @04:05AM (#36631512)

    If you were to transmit that same 40GB by text it would cost you $52,400,000.

    • by delinear (991444)
      Theoretically I have unlimited free text messages, but I'm pretty sure my phone company wouldn't thank me for testing this out :)
      • This is because they know that txt messages are essentially free to them (it costs them more to keep you on the network), and they have a "Fair use" policy that will stop you if you do try and test the limits ...

  • Proposed caps (Score:4, Informative)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Friday July 01, 2011 @04:11AM (#36631532) Homepage

    Luckily the EU is investigating this and will impose rate caps on everybody.

    Under the new scheme those same 40Gb of data will only cost as much as a Ford Mondeo.

    • Actually, anyone who has advertisements enabled on slashdot will have seen ads by abroadband.com. I'm not affiliated with them, I'm just a customer. For good reason: I live in Luxembourg, which is tiny, so leaving the country is easily accomplished. You get plans with unlimited data here, but beware if you leave the country. It get expensive quickly. That's why I took the up the abroadband offer: emergency use in my own country (as it doesn't matter in which country you are) and when I leave the countr

    • Actually the EU caps only cover calls and texts, not data.

  • ...news at 11.

    Get a grip. It's called capitalism. Sooner or later it is just Feodalism with few improvements. Want a real change? Ups, as communism is invalidated by bloody attempts to impose it to people, we don't have really a choice have we.

    • by fnj (64210)

      What improvements?

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      >>Sooner or later it is just Feodalism with few improvements

      I prefer Foodalism myself. It's a much more delicious tyranny.

    • The money for purchasing all those subsidized phones has to come from somewhere.
      • by Pecisk (688001)

        Ohh, do you mean those subsidized phones which subsription costs (not talks, not data transfer) 3x a year? Or even if I own my phone roaming costs are still insane?

      • by hedwards (940851)

        If the consumers are that stupid they deserve it. The problem though is that companies like AT&T don't offer plans that don't include the phone. Meaning that you can use your own phone, but they just pocket the cost of the phone. Meanwhile none of the carriers permit you to get 3G with a phone that wasn't designed for their network. With Verizon and Sprint refusing to activate any phones that don't have their logo on them even if it's an identical model.

        • The problem though is that companies like AT&T don't offer plans that don't include the phone. Meaning that you can use your own phone, but they just pocket the cost of the phone.

          From another point of view, one could say that they give the phone for free, and it's the service you're paying for.

          Meanwhile none of the carriers permit you to get 3G with a phone that wasn't designed for their network. With Verizon and Sprint refusing to activate any phones that don't have their logo on them even if it's an identical model.

          Regulation is probably the only practical way to get that solved.

  • by NtwoO (517588) on Friday July 01, 2011 @04:52AM (#36631678) Homepage
    With a standard 160 char SMS consuming 140 bytes (7 bit GSM encoding) and at a rate of 20ct per SMS on some Prepaid tariff plans, you are looking at an excess of 61 million for 40GB.
  • by cheros (223479) on Friday July 01, 2011 @05:20AM (#36631770)

    If you're not aware of roaming tariffs your company hasn't briefed you well. However, given that Blackberries seem to roam much cheaper it proves that such tariffs are a rip off..

    I went to the UK, and for £1/day I had proper 3G connectivity - nicely shared out over a local access point :-).

    Roaming is the last route by which telco's can rip off their customers (well, apart from SMS charges, but they have it least the advantage that it stops marketing people from abusing something you cannot block).

    • by orzetto (545509)

      Roaming is the last route by which telco's can rip off their customers

      More likely, rip off someone else's customers. When in a foreign country, the big difference in price is given by the local operator, who has no interest in marketing itself to you since you will never be their customer, and who knows you need your mobile because you are far away from home, more likely to need the GPS and such. Your own telco is only relaying to you the foreign telco's bill.

  • by jpapon (1877296) on Friday July 01, 2011 @06:17AM (#36631960) Journal
    My provider (Simyo) just created new EU roaming plans because of the legislation. I can now get 50 min for 4.99EU and 50MB for 4.99EU, useable in any EU country. While still not particularly cheap, that's really not bad at all. 150MB is more then enough to check maps and email over the course of my upcoming three week vacation, so I won't even hesitate.

    Not to mention, they have a server side roaming data cap which is opt-out (thats right, by default it is ON) set to 59euros.

    After my experiences with AT&T in the US, I can't even begin to express how pleased I am with this change. Two years ago I took a summer trip to Europe from the US and brought my iPhone... They wanted something ridiculous like $200 for 50MB. Over the course of two weeks I made about 100 minutes of phone calls and used 10MB of data, and came home to a $900 bill.

    I'm so glad I jailbroke the phone, moved to Germany, and now get to benefit from reasonable consumer protection legislation...

    • by timbo234 (833667)

      This is only because of the EU regulations though. And it only applies inside the EU, go outside with a German sim card and you'll be charged eye watering amounts.

      I was charged over 40 euro for downloading 2mb of data un the Ukraine last month on my German o2 contract.

  • There may be a debate about whether Internet connectivity is a human right or requisite to citizenship.
    However it should be clear that low bandwidth is a constraint on economic growth, education and advancement.
    Mobile bandwidth is not just about updating Facebook on the train, especially as all kinds of computing and communication can be done outside the office, or when on a business trip, at a customer's office, etc.
    I submit that lower mobile tariffs will greatly increase a region's competitiveness in many

    • by Aquitaine (102097)

      There may be a debate about whether Internet connectivity is a human right or requisite to citizenship.

      There may? Only in speeches of pandering politicians and UN bureaucrats who declare anything that people want to be a 'human right.'

      Low bandwidth may indeed be a constraint on economic growth, but making the case that low mobile bandwidth is a constraint is pretty difficult.

      Roaming, mobile broadband is a luxury. With so many wifi spots around, there just aren't that many people for whom having service like this is really necessary, much less a human right.

      I submit that city, region, state and national governments should quickly attempt to remove these trade barriers, and cities on their own should attempt to create barrier-free roaming agreements with each other. It is juvenile from a civilization perspective and an economic perspective for carriers to refuse interoperability and enforce rapacious fees when it hurts the governments and populations that make it possible for them to make such a profitable business.

      Oh please. In other words, 'I demand the pinnacle of

  • To be fair to the operators, PC Pro do seem to have looked hard for each carriers worst option. I say this because my 1gb from Vodaphone costs £15 so £15*40=£600, I've installed ad-block and no-script and the Gig has lasted over a year so far!!! Also the other operators have very similar prices.
  • I recently was looking into services that can be used for global roaming, and these are what I turned up in my research, in case anyone else was interested:
    abroadband (already recommended by someone else here) leverages Telecom Austria's existing roaming agreements to offer worldwide roaming at a flat .59 Euro / MB. Downside is you have to buy your sim card in Europe.
    Tru has a really interesting business model, and is becoming a MVNO in multiple different countries with the same SIM card database, such that

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

Working...