by Carlo Longino

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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Bobby, 13 Jun 2006 @ 6:33pm

    Unlimited Connection Too Much...

    Why do companies stop there customers from using the products simple as they advertise?

    Of course we already know that answer... $. It should and may be illegal to advertise one products but supply another.

    BTW, First Post!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2006 @ 6:38pm

    Can't somebody be sued for false advertising here? They clearly advertise them as unlimited but have been booting people for using their "unlimited" data connection in certain ways.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    bob, 13 Jun 2006 @ 7:48pm


    well its unlimited in certain respects. they may advertise unlimited bandwidth use, but that does not mean that they cant control how you use that bandwidth. their advertising isnt outright false, it just doesnt describe the entire deal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2006 @ 8:04pm

    The word "Unlimited" from Answers.com

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    George W. Bush, 13 Jun 2006 @ 8:23pm

    Unlimited service?

    ... That's a great concept! Name something what you WANT people to think it is and make it DO something else ...

    I have a great name - The Patriot Act! I think I'll make a bill!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2006 @ 9:20pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Weebit, 13 Jun 2006 @ 9:54pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, 13 Jun 2006 @ 10:43pm

    In the UK this would be illegal, but they do it there anyway. They just don't care.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    claire rand, 14 Jun 2006 @ 12:34am


    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'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2006 @ 8:00am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    anonymous coward, 14 Jun 2006 @ 10:53am

    It is Unlimited*. That is completely different from Unlimited.

    Caveat Emptor!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    operator, 14 Jun 2006 @ 12:15pm

    they are a large corporation.
    their thoughts: "laws are for the little people"

    and all they're gonna get (at most) is a slap on the wrist, so why should they care?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer
Anonymous number for texting and calling from Hushed. $25 lifetime membership, use code TECHDIRT25
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.