Another “Unlimited” Data Tarrif?

The word unlimited has been misused, redefined and blurred by mobile phone networks in much the same way that purveyors of alternative medicine are doing to the word healing.  Until now, so-called unlimited data tarrifs have been anything but, with phrases like “fair use policy”  buried in the small print and euphemistically used to describe what were in fact hard limits on the amount of data users could download.

Recently most of the UK networks have been moving away from unlimited packages and instead selling bundles with a fixed amount of data for a fixed price and a surcharge per mega byte if the limit was exceeded. The main reason for this shift has been the rocketing demand for data from the growing number of smartphone owners. Whilst more honest, and probably a fairer way to sell data bundles than misleading users with words like unlimited, the fear of a surprise bill for data puts many smartphone owners off using their phones to the full.

In response to this trend, 3 have decided to zig when others zag and launch what they swear is a genuinely unlimited data package, no really, honest, it’s unlimited.

3’s The One tarrif now includes unlimited data, 3 said:  “All limits have been lifted on the amount of data you can consume on your mobile.”

The surprise move is aimed to “challenge the limited offers and additional charges other operators levy on smartphone users”.

3 did stress that the bundle is for personal smartphone users only, so no business use and presumably no WiFi tethering either,  although as yet there is no official word from 3 on this.

Whether or not 3 decide to allow tethering will be interesting, even the most web happy smartphone user will struggle to come close to the data usage of someone regularly browsing and downloading video on a laptop. Even if they decide to disable tethering on handsets they sell themselves, it will be hard to stop sim only customers with network free handsets from using tethering if they want to. This will show just how serious 3 are about “unlimited” data.

The One package also includes 2,000 any network minutes,  5,000 minutes to other 3 numbers , and 5,000 texts which is pretty hefty for the price of £25 per month sim only for 24 months.

Whether or not this will work or catch on with other networks remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to watch either way.

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