When is unlimited not unlimited?

NewSpeak in telecommunications marketing

When is unlimited not unlimited? When it is offered by an Irish Telco.

IrelandOffline are today calling for an end to the misleading practice of describing telecommunications packages as unlimited.

We now have a plethora of “unlimited” offerings by various telcos yet they all have limits. They are now hidden behind a “Fair Use Policy”. These supposedly “unlimited” offerings stretch the use of the English language to the extreme.
Unlimited by definition means exactly that: unlimited not some falsely crippled offering.

For instance, Imagine’s Wimax offering is advertised as unlimited yet has a cleverly hidden 30Gbyte cap.
Then we have Vodafone also advertising an “unlimited” Mobile package. This package does not even offer full access to the internet. Skype and VOIP are not “supported”. While this may mean that Skype and VoIP are not known to work very well on any mobile broadband it may also mean that they are actively blocked which is a completely different situation and most certainly not what is reasonably understood to be “Unlimited”. These are only two examples of this practice.

Comreg and the ASAI were supposed to address these issues a number of years ago. Why has this not been done? What does the Comreg Consumer Panel actually do?

This is in clear breach of European Consumer guidelines:


Here is the text of the directive itself


whose enforcement is supposed to be monitored by the European Consumer Centre


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2 Responses

  1. Kieran says:

    This is actually getting to the all-out desperate stage now.

    While nothing to do with broadband, Three’s mobile top-up plans offer “unlimited”, “free”, internet on your phone when in fact there is a limit of 250 mb monthly and you have to buy a €5 voucher from your credit first.

    Another point…we heard today from the Minister of Comms. that this new fibre technology was being rolled out. Who do we hear is getting this new technology? Why urban areas of course. Us rural people don’t matter, sure we only make up half the population.

    This country is gone to the dogs and it’s the dogs who are running it.

  2. Colin Haynes says:

    I find that there are hidden restrictions on usage of the National Broadband Scheme operated by 3 and Satellite Broadband in Mullingar. After 90MB an hour downloading, my satellite service has been slowed to the point of being unusable, and there are other limits after four hours, a day, a week and a month which make it impossible for 3 to deliver to the NBS contract requirements.
    The NBS satellite service tech support is a joke – it took a week to respond, and then unsatisfactorily, so it seems that the suppliers are not staffing up to operate the service as well as imposing hidden and unfair usage restrictions to save on satellite costs.
    As substantial public funds are involved, and 3 is contracted to complete NBS availability across Ireland by the end of October, it seems that we are spending Irish and EU public funds on an NBS that is simply not fit for purpose.
    I have complained formally to the relevant Irish authorities and also to the EU anti-fraud office.
    If anyone can contribute experiences or technical information to help me pursue this, it would be much appreciated.
    If rural Ireland does not get proper broadband, we will never get out of this rut of deprivation and there are enormous economic and social consequences.
    Thanks for your attention.

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