ACCC warns Aussie telcos not to mislead customers with “unlimited” data plans
THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT; 1.5MBPS IS.
The latest trend among Australian telcos has been to offer “unlimited” data mobile plans, but it’s a move that’s now led Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims to officially warn the companies not to mislead customers with the terminology. The issue that the Commission found with plans from Optus, Vodafone, and Telstra is that their respective “unlimited” plans did, indeed, pose some limits on customers. The plan from Optus restricted speeds to 1.5Mbps when tethering, streaming and downloading (in other words, pretty much everything except for light browsing), while Telstra and Vodafone both imposed the same throttled 1.5Mbps download rate once the user had surpassed a data allowance (...or data ‘limit’, you could say). While all of this was indeed explained by the telcos in some of their finest print, these qualifications were “not sufficiently prominent or clear to explain to consumers the existence and impacts of the limitations”, according to the ACCC. If telecommunications companies aren’t transparent with their advertising in the future, the ACCC says it will invoke “court action from the regulator”, promising to “seek the highest possible penalties”.