…unless you’re up to no good? With many companies jumping on the ‘truly unlimited internet’ bandwagon, does anyone really need access to never-ending data on-the-go?
Why am I talking about this now? There are two reasons.
Firstly, T-Mobile recently launched its ‘Full Monty’ tariff offering unlimited internet, supposedly without caveats.
Secondly, the mobile network GiffGaff, which has been offering truly unlimited internet since its inception, is weighing up its options.
Before I explore this in detail, I must first set one thing straight – I’m not going to moan about companies using the word unlimited, at least in these cases. I think it’s great that networks are finally getting to grips with the fact that the word ‘unlimited’ should mean what it says. In my view, there should be no data caps if you want to advertise your service as ‘unlimited’.
Anyway, this is all by-the-by – mobile companies have cottoned on to the fact that we love it when they tell the truth, and if they can offer truly unlimited internet, good on them. However, my question is – does anyone really need it?
Who needs unlimited internet?
I’m with GiffGaff, which runs on O2’s network, and I benefit from its truly unlimited internet at £10 a month. In an attempt to steer away from promoting the service, I’ll stop at saying that I think it’s a bargain and enjoy using the net without fear of a big bill at the end of the month.
However, despite months upon months of trying to use as the internet as much as I can (watching YouTube videos, downloading apps etc), I can’t seem to use more than 1GB of data. And I’m surprised, especially after reading stories of mobile internet bill shock.
This has led me to the conclusion that no one could possibly need more than 3GB of internet a month on their mobile.
Abusing the limits
This brings me to GiffGaff’s problem. Less than 1% of its users consume more than 30% of all the data used by its customers. This, GiffGaff argues, is distorting their data costs and making its business unsustainable.
This minority group are apparently using their data for things like downloading high-def movies (unnecessary for a small mobile screen), iTunes track lists larger than a phone could hold, and streaming video content for eight hours a day by tethering their mobile to their PC or TV.
GiffGaff is taking action by disconnecting these users. However, much of its community doesn’t think the network can call its offering ‘unlimited’ if there are such restrictions.
So, should GiffGaff simply be allowed to remove the 1% who are abusing the system and continue to offer unlimited internet? The Advertising Standards Authority allows networks to use the word ‘unlimited’ even if they take action against up to 2% of their users.
Or should GiffGaff just bite the bullet and add a fair usage policy to its internet offering, say a 3GB limit, and revoke its use of the word ‘unlimited’? At the end of the day, what’s the point of offering unlimited internet if 99% of its users aren’t really stretching the system?