Are Unlimited Plans Really Unlimited?
- Unlimited plans are subject to "Fair Use"
- Understand exactly what you're paying for
- Figure out if an unlimited plan is for you
Are Unlimited Plans Really Unlimited?
The buzzword of now: Unlimited! These days every provider and it’s subsidiaries are offering some sort of unlimited plan. Whether it be a mobile plan deal, calls from your home phone or internet data, you’re bound to find an unlimited plan out there. You’d be stressed to walk the streets or turn on your television and not come across at least one advert offering you an unbelievable, unlimited deal. If you have ever looked into it for yourself, you were probably astounded to find it was actually affordable too. This discovery begs the question for most people : “is it too good to be true?”
It’s a good question and upon looking for an internet service myself a few months ago, one I searched long and hard to get to the bottom of. After a journey down the legal rabbit hole of endless terms, conditions and policies there’s a simple answer: pretty much. But as you’ve probably guessed, it’s a little more complicated than that...
A Little More Complicated.
The big difference with unlimited plans is there’s no restrictions to hold you in place and that’s where fair use policies come into action. All internet plans, especially those offering any sort of unlimited feature, will have a fair use policy attached. These documents dictate what the plan provider deems as “excessive usage”. This is pretty important as it’s the only grounds a provider legally has to cancel or suspend your unlimited service. These policies can vary between providers so before signing up for a plan it’s recommended to give it a good read-through.
Fortunately internet fair use policies usually define excessive usage far beyond what even a heavy data user could reach within one month. This exact limit will vary between providers but they are required by law to have this outlined in the fair use policy. In most cases this limit can only be exceeded if a user is downloading at top speed, constantly, all day, every day. This type of behaviour would be classed as excessive and would warrant your account being flagged for suspension.
So technically there are limits on unlimited plans. However general users and even heavy users such as myself would find even find it an incredible challenge to push the limit of fair use policies. If that’s the case, why do that even exist?
If it’s unlimited how (and why) can they impose “Fair Use”?
These restrictions are in place in order to ensure the service quality. Broadband is a pretty flexible technology but it is not invulnerable to heavy usage. It allows a large capacity of users to be connected to one exchange while offering a steady and fast speed for everybody connected. In situations such as this, a number of people downloading constantly on an unlimited will offset the speeds of those that aren’t. In order to make sure that everybody a provider offers a service to is being delivered a reliable speed, everybody must be sharing the connection equally .
Most data plans out there are already structured to offset possible congestion like this at peak times with “On-Peak” and “Off-Peak” aspects to data allowances. Fair Use functions in the same way and is a compromise between offering one single customer the best possible service while also sustaining the service as whole for everybody else.
Issues such as congestion are a big problem for providers. It’s the difference between a usable and unusable product and can stand to break a company’s reputation if they fall victim to it. Unlimited plans can be can cause a significant impact to provider’s service and are handled as so. TPG offers a range of unlimited options but uses a more thorough process for selecting which customers can or cannot receive the service over their other internet plans.
Am I better off with or without unlimited?
The deal with these unlimited plans is that the fair use is just a way of policing people that could stand to ruin the services of other users. It’s one of many things a provider will put in place as quality assurance. The selection process and conditions such as “Non-Commercial Use” are also ways of maintaining service quality. Those who stand to suffer as result of these policies should be looking for a different service all together, such as a business plan, or looking to cut down their usage in light of how it affects other users.
The bottom line is that unlimited plans are built for heavy use. They’re offered at a premium price above other plans for a reason. If you’re looking for a massive plan because you download a library’s worth of data each month or have a family of internet users to take into mind then you can’t get much better than unlimited plan.
TPG offer a range of affordable unlimited broadband plans with extensive customer satisfaction! Call us on 1300 106 571 for more information.