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Vodafone not offering “true” 5G according to O2 CEO

Manny Pham
August 20, 2019

The claim comes after Vodafone launched 5G with a range of unlimited deals

O2 CEO Mark Evans has
said Vodafone customers are not getting a true 5G experience,
highlighting the operator’s new unlimited but throttled data
packages.

Vodafone, which
launched its 5G network on July 3, is selling three tiers of 5G
contracts: Unlimited Lite from £23 per month (up to 2Mbps),
Unlimited from £26 (up to 10Mbps) and Unlimited Max from £30 –
which yields Vodafone’s fastest possible speed, though a solid
number is not stated.

In an exclusive
briefing to talk about O2’s recent financial results at the
Haymarket Hotel in London, Evans said “I’m not sure I would
interpret Vodafone as being progressive.”

He said: “They (Vodafone) have launched three price points for unlimited data. One could say 2Mbps would correspond to a 3G service, 10Mbps is broadly a 4G service and £30 is for ‘fastest’. Remember those are capped speeds at 2Mbps and 10Mbps.

“I thought Vodafone’s
launch was simple, clever and effective. But if you contrast that
with advertising standards in fibre broadband, where people talk
about the theoretical speed one might get, I thought the rules were
tightening on that. I don’t know where ‘up to’ sits.

“Customers haven’t
really got a 5G experience at 2Mbps; it’s 3G. But I give credit to
Vodafone for making a fundamental shift change in pricing and
tariff.”

A Vodafone spokesperson
said: “We conducted many months of research before launching our
tariffs. We look forward to seeing O2 follow our lead.”

Three chief marketing
officer Shadi Halliwell added: “Three will be the only operator
offering ‘real’ unlimited 5G to consumers with unrestricted
speeds.” Three has pledged that it won’t charge a premium for its
10 million customers. EE was reached for comment.

There have, meanwhile,
been positive reactions to Vodafone’s 5G launch. Onecom CEO Ben
Dowd said Vodafone’s unlimited 5G packages “moves us to a new era
in which speed and experience become more important than data usage.”

IDC research manager
European mobile devices Marta Pinto said: “Vodafone’s focus is on
making sure there is no surcharge on 5G bundles both for consumers
and companies. This is important, as investors will continue to
closely observe how carriers balance the need to heavily invest in
fast 5G rollouts with monetising the network.”

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