Sharing your data allowance over iPad, iPhone and laptop

Posted on by Mike Evans

Last week I mentioned that I had been able to secure a combined iPhone/iPad data contract with two SIMs on the same account. This enables the most efficient use of the combined data allowance. In the UK I have separate Vodafone contracts with 2.5 GB on the phone (to including laptop tethering) and 1 GB on the iPad. In reality, I could probably get by with 2 or 2.5GB in total if I could pool the two allowances.

Today I did the rounds of stores belonging to the four major UK networks. Anyway, Vodafone was quite categoric. Not possible; I even got some rigmarole about the iPad and iPhone using different APMs. While this is probably correct, I wonder why it is necessary?

O2 was equally adamant. No can do.

The third network, the cleverly named Everthing Everywhere(1) (which invites the Nothing Nowhere response) is responsible for Orange and T-Mobile. T-Mobile definitely do not do iPad and iPhone data sharing. Orange does, but only if I am prepared to take two new devices and a long contract at £66 per month.

Fourth up, the 3 network (another strange name, by the way) definitely does not do a sharing deal.

In Greece, CosmOTE (which is the daughter of the state telephone company OTE and thus not noted for innovation) seems happy to offer a sharing of one data allowance across two devices. No nonsense there about APMs or other technical difficulties. I have 2GB of data which I can use on either of my two devices and, via the iPhone Hotspot feature, on my MacBook Air.

Do I detect a whiff of restrictive practice in the UK? If networks allow a subscriber to share his data across all devices he could get by on a lower combined figure. Or maybe I’m just being suspicious.

I firmly believe that a sharing arrangement, where your total data allowance is pooled over your devices, is the most sensible solution and really should be implemented by all carriers.

1 *What is it that compels companies with perfectly reasonable names (in this case Orange and T-Mobile) to turn themselves into something as silly as Everything Everywhere, a meaningless platitute at best, utterly ridiculous at worst? *

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