US Gov’t sue carriers who promise unlimited data
They say that you ought to fulfill everything that you promise, and that’s what the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) over in the United States is doing: suing telecoms who can’t keep up with their ‘Unlimited Data’ promises to their consumers.
Last October 28, the FTC filed a complaint against American telecom giant AT&T for misleading millions of its smartphone customers by charging them for “unlimited” data plans while reducing their data speeds by up to 90 percent in some cases. According to the complaint, AT&T’s marketing materials emphasized the “unlimited” amount of data that would be available to consumers who signed up for its unlimited plans. Even as unlimited plan consumers renewed their contracts, the company still failed to inform them of the throttling program. When customers canceled their contracts after being throttled, AT&T charged those customers early termination fees, which typically amount to hundreds of dollars.
Also according to the FTC’s complaint, consumers in AT&T focus groups strongly objected to the idea of a throttling program and felt “unlimited should mean unlimited.” AT&T documents also showed that the company received thousands of complaints about the slow data speeds under the throttling program.
Does the word ‘unlimited’ sound really familiar?
That’s what our local telcos have been advertising all along — Unlimited internet emphasized on promos, only to be met with data throttling or capping along the way. They enforce fair usage policies, they say, but don’t they mean unlimited as in unrestricted or not limited, as the word itself means?
As a paying customer of a telecom network that should’ve been providing a very stable internet connection and not a free internet user, whether prepaid or postpaid, we deserve every bit of speed that we think we paid for. We deserve every bit of consumer protection we think we need against these kinds of deceptive and misleading advertisements.
Maybe it’s time that the government should look at these. But then, are they really doing their jobs if advertisements like these slip though?
However, we’re closely seeing a shift in the way mobile data offers are being marketed by local telcos.
For several months now, local carriers have been avoiding the use of the word unlimited data in their promotional materials. Globe has slowly shifted their SuperSurf and Powersurf plans into GoSurf which indicates the amount of data allocation. Smart has also recently changed their labeling of their Unli Data Plans into just Data Plans which now implements a tiered data cap. They’ve also introduced All Day Surfing and All Month Surfing to define a restricted unlimited access to data (no video streaming, downloading and P2P).
So it looks like we’re seeing the trend going towards data caps instead of flat out unlimited data.