Here is O2's response (22 July 2010 emphasis mine) to my enquiry asking for an explanation of their policy regarding modifying data sent over their mobile network. For those readers who are not clear on the technical details, the blanket statement that any phone compresses the data for better viewing is not true.
Hello Stuart Thanks for your email about the data compression on your iPhone. I get to know from your email that you wish to know our data compression policy. Just to let you know Stuart, that if you are accessing the internet on any phone, the phone automatically compresses the data to allow better viewing of the websites. This is a technical query and we've a separate team which is specially trained on all the technical issues. So that you can get a satisfactory response to your query, all you need to do is speak to this technical team on 08448 752 302. We're open: - Monday to Friday between 8am and 9pm. - Saturday between 8am to 8pm - Sunday 8am to 6pm. Calls to the above number are free from all O2 Pay Monthly mobile phones. You can also dial 2302 free from an iPhone to speak to our iPhone customer service team. I wish you a great day ahead. Kind regards ------ O2 Customer Service Telefónica O2 UK Limited, Registered in England No 1743099. Registered Office: 260 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 4DX.
I followed up on the number they gave but reached another customer support staff member who did not know what a "data compression policy" was and cut me off when they said they'd pass me on to someone who might.
I tried again and this time the person told me that I hadn't got through to the "technical team" and that the number I had been given was "just a generic number". He said he didn't know anything about the issue and nor did his manager but he would try and put me through to a different department that might.
He then came back again and told me that he could only pass me any further information if I confirmed that I was an O2 customer and gave my account details.
Finally, after approx. 2 hours on the phone I was told that O2 could official confirm that they "compress data" and they were not legally required to give any further information about what they do.
I'm now awaiting a response from O2's CEO.