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O2 has announced plans to introduce data charges for smartphone users ending the more unlimited usage attitude it had taken in the past.
The mobile phone giant, which had an exclusive relationship with Apple to sell the iPhone when it was first launched, is phasing out the unlimited data plans introducing payment options for 500MB, 750MB or 1Gb to smart phone users.
One source told MicroScope that the original pricing models on smartphones had largely not worried about data, concentrating on minutes and texts, but the growth in the use of the web was making the industry change its attitude.
"The amount of data being downloaded to smartphones continues to climb putting pressure on the providers infrastructure and they have to do something about that," he said.
Those iPhone users that are on existing unlimited data plans will be encouraged to move off to pay for data packages by a cut off date of 1 October. The data bundles come into force from 24 June.
O2 CEO Ronan Dunne said that it had made the move to provide customers struggling to work out data charges from rivals with some clarity.
"We know that customers are looking for clarity in pricing as too many offers have clauses and catches which are not easy to understand. With the wide range of Internet based services now available on mobile devices we're providing customers with generous clear data bundles that give customers freedom," he said.
Apple unveiled its latest model of the iPhone on Monday night which is introduced into the UK to coincide with the introduction of the data charges.