Calls for no limits to unlimited phone data offers

Calls for no limits to unlimited phone data offers
Data discussion

Phone companies are being asked to make sure their 'unlimited' data deals are in fact unlimited and not confuse consumers with a fair-usage policy.

According to the Guardian, Lewis Shand Smith, an ombudsman that specialises in communications, has called for policies to be made clearer to consumers and has asked that companies stop hiding behind the small print when they advertise their deals.

"This is an emerging problem which we think could cause real consumer detriment – we want mobile phone companies to take action before it becomes more prevalent," said Shand Smith.

"Some mobile phone packages offer 'unlimited' downloads and consumers may believe that their mobile phone bill won't go above a certain amount.

"Consumers may fail to realise is that there is a small asterisk next to the word 'unlimited' which refers to small print stating that there is in fact a limit which, if exceeded, will incur further charges."

Bundle of fun

In light of Shand Smith's quotes, mobile phone company Three contacted TechRadar and said: "Three's all-you-can-eat data plans offer customers genuinely unlimited internet use on their smartphones and no out of bundle data bill shock.

"Smartphone users typically sign up for two-year contracts and use increasing amounts of data as they learn just what their smartphone can do, making limited bundles an issue for many consumers.

"Both contract and pay as you go customers tell us they prefer the peace of mind of all-you-can-eat data to fair use policies or worse still: out of bundle data bill shock.

"Consumers want to make the most out of their smartphones but many struggle to track their data use, our genuine all-you-can-eat plans take that problem away."

The ASA currently allows the word 'unlimited' in advertising as long as the customer is clear there are limits.

Where's 2 Unlimited when you need them?

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.