Limited, Unlimited — Who Wants To Split Hairs?

from the misinformed-or-misleading dept

IDG chimes in (a few weeks after countless other publications) with the familiar story of US mobile operators restrictive terms of service on their 3G data services — the ones they advertise as unlimited that are anything but. There’s nothing particularly new in this article, but comments attributed to a Verizon Wireless exec back in April could raise some eyebrows. The carrier’s CTO, Dick Lynch, says that while its ToS forbid users from doing plenty of things with the connection, it’s letting people — for now — violate them and use services like the Slingbox. Remember that Verizon not only balked at the idea of customers using the Slingbox without its permission, but had been kicking users off its network for months before Lynch’s comments for using their “unlimited” connections too much. While Lynch may deserve the benefit of the doubt that his comments have been misconstrued or wrongly paraphrased, even if so they highlight the rampant doublespeak of the telcos on this issue, as well as proving the fallacy of the oft-repeated point that these relatively high-speed wireless networks provide real competition for wired broadband networks.

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Comments on “Limited, Unlimited — Who Wants To Split Hairs?”

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anonymous Coward says:

The word “Unlimited” from

1. Having no restrictions or controls: an unlimited travel ticket.

2. Having or seeming to have no boundaries; infinite: an unlimited horizon.

3. Without qualification or exception; absolute: unlimited self-confidence.

Because so many companies have jumped onboard to use this term it’s just a matter of time till a class action suit happens and challenges them. I have seen several companies claim its unlimited, but if you read the fine print you find out otherwise. I believe it will be more like fasle advertising than anything else. One day they will have to remove unlimited from their advertisings. In my opinion they will.

Anonymous Coward says:

Glad some people always find a way to make a bad political joke about something that doesn’t relate in any way just so they can make a point no one cares about…

It’s called false advertisement, and it is against the law, for reasons like this. If you went into bestbuy and bought a phone, say a razor, and in the box they gave you some 5 year old phone with none of the add-ons you wanted, it’s the same thing. They can call it a razor or whatever, but it’s not. You can’t say something is unlimited, then tell people “but you can only use this much a day”, because then it is quantized and it is no longer what they are selling. Pure and simple, it’s false advertising, and if you buy it thinking you’re going to get what you paid for, you fell into their trap, and there’s nothing you can do because of that little thing called fine print that you just signed your soul away to.

Lesson: read the contract before you sign, c’mon.

Weebit says:

You forgot one thing this unlimited stuff is also pushed to you when you call them asking about their service. You can read all the fine print and find the real facts on the unlimited in the fine print, but you will never get them to admit on the phone that their service is NOT really unlimited. They play dumb every time. How do I know? Because I read this somewhere online, and so I did some testing myself. Found out they are right they wont admit it’s not unlimited on the phone. I called five places all claiming unlimited services. Try it yourself.

claire rand says:


in the u.k. its *not* illegal, god alone knows how many complaints have been made over misleading adverts, the term “unlimited” is flagged as an ‘industry standard term’ which basically means as long as everyone is lying no-one gets an advantage so its alright.

‘course the poor mug consumers get screwed but who cares bout them…

it does tend to be in the *very* small print what most of the limts are, to stop people using these limits as a reason to cancel the contract. but the info isn’t easy to find, but it is ‘avalilble’

Anonymous Coward says:

Read the TOS. It should be pretty clear what is acceptable and what isn’t. They don’t want the heavy users, they want the 80-90% of the pop that accounts for 10-20% of the usage.

This is beginning to sound like the “Comcast said “Unlimited Use” but they’re terminating my account and I only DL’d 200 gigs this month…” rants of a few years ago.

Yeah, they should make the TOS/AUP clearer. But expecting them to feed your habit is pretty unreasonable. Nothing has changed; TANSTAAFL.

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