Unlimited data may be unsustainable, says GiffGaff

GiffGaff could stop unlimited data in future
Apps like iPlayer eat data all day long

GiffGaff's CEO Mike Fairman has said that the budget network may have to consider binning its unlimited data offer as data usage continues to rise.

With the likes of Sky Go and iPlayer seeing mobile video usage rise rapidly, and users increasingly consuming large amounts of data on the go, many networks are nervous of rising costs.

Speaking to TechRadar, Fairman said: "what we're debating with our members right is the fact that we are seeing rapid increases in data usage, especially with applications which consume video.

"We are seeing an increase in the average usage - which is going up – and that's raising in our mind some thoughts how sustainable it is to continue to have unlimited [data]."

One per cent

As is the case with a lot of networks, one per cent of GiffGaff's users are hammering the network and using 40% of its capacity and the company is currently consulting its community on how these users could be encouraged to reduce their usage.

The GiffGaff CEO also predicts a headache for networks once 4G rolls out and data usage goes through the roof, adding: "Thinking of ways to charge for 4G in a way that networks can make money, customers can understand is a bit of a challenge".

A suggestion by Fairman is that networks would start charging for different levels of service when it comes to 4G, potentially offering customers various speeds and priority of the network depending on the level they are willing to pay for.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.