Should going online cost more in cities?

Stories in the press during the Christmas break suggest Everything Everywhere is considering charging customers more for using their phones in cities than in rural areas. What do you think?


The Financial Times published an interview with Everything Everywhere’s CEO Tom Alexander on 28 December where he suggested that in the future customers may pay more for data in London, where there is heavy demand on mobile networks, than customers in rural areas.

At O2 we have seen the extraordinary growth in mobile data first hand. We know that one streamed YouTube video causes the same effect on our network as the whole of Newcastle sending a text at the same time and we’ve invested in our network to cope with more and more customers using smartphones. We made a change earlier this year to help manage data more effectively and continue to make sure that everyone has access to the mobile data they need.

The strategy proposed by Everything Everywhere – different data prices depending on your location – might make customers’ lives better or it may be like a new kind of unwelcome congestion charge. Charging more for data in areas where there is high demand could provide more money to invest in mobile networks, to ensure there’s enough capacity to cope. Or alternatively rural areas could see lower prices for data but also less capacity as networks don’t have enough money to invest in the future.

We’d like to know what you think – should networks charge more for data in certain areas of the country or should it be a flat rate everywhere? Is charging more where the demand is higher a good idea or is it fairer that wherever you are you pay the same? Let us know in the comments below – we’re keen to know your thoughts. Or maybe you have other ideas for the fairest way to fund mobile internet expansion?