It makes sense for 3 to offer unlimited data compared with the other networks.
With wireless spectrum there's limited bandwidth.
3 may install 2 masts in an area to cover 1000 people lets say.
This is 500 people per mast.
o2 may install 3 masts in an area to cover 4,000 people. If o2 install any more masts there would be significant interference between the sites so they become restricted with the 3 masts in place.
That would be 1333 people per mast. So many more than 3.
3 can offer unlimited data as their masts not got too many customers using it & there is plenty of spare bandwidth left.
o2 on the otherhand need to keep data usage at a minimum as otherwise the network will be crippled. o2 cannot install more sites as this introduces interference between sites & no matter how much backhaul they have the wireless technology becomes a limit.
It's kind of like having a 80Mbps fibre connection with a 54Mbps router.
With 5 customers using the 54Mbps wireless router it'll perform ok.
Put 20 customers onto it and it'll slow down massively.
Install more routers on the same frequency you introduce interference
Increase the backhaul to 160Mbps, it'll make no odds as the wireless routers restricting. It's the same with masts.
So the bigger networks face bigger challenges. Perhaps 3 is happy with its limited customer base as it means they can keep existing customers happy. Get 4 times the customer base and they simply could not offer that all you can eat data.
EE have done well to buy plenty of spectrum so they can limit this affect somewhat. On the contray o2 will have big problems with their rollout covering large areas (speeds will suffer).
EDIT: this is my somewhat limited understanding anyway from the EE network planning guy who I've known since school
Edited by ukhardy07 (Mon 09-Sep-13 23:59:04)