ACCC warns Aussie tel­cos not to mis­lead cus­tomers with “un­lim­ited” data plans

THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT; 1.5MBPS IS.

TechLife Australia - - HOTSPOT - [ HARRY DOMANSKI ]

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”.

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