Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Australian court: Telstra’s “unlimited” deal isn’t

Telstra is in the news again this week, and again, it’s not for a great reason, as it turns out the Australian court system disagrees with its advertising.

Wow, Telstra is not having the best of weeks. After having its network go down on Australia earlier in the week, its advertising run on the recently launched unlimited plans have also been dealt a blow: they must be stopped immediately.

The news comes after Optus took its rival to court over advertisements for its unlimited plans, which said in no uncertain terms:

One word from Australia’s best mobile network. Unlimited.

But as we’ve mentioned before, the unlimited plans offered by Telstra do come with limitations, capping the downloads at the ADSL speed of 1.5Mbps when a download cap is hit. For Telstra, the unlimited mobile speeds are only there for the first 30GB, with the rest of the unlimited downloads after that being capped to 1.5Mbps, or 187 kilobytes per second, well off megabytes per second offered through the 4G networks normally.

And this week, the court agreed that Telstra was falsely representing the term “unlimited”, losing the short battle to Optus in court.

Telstra’s advertising will now be removed, and it’s possible Vodafone’s will be hit, too, though we have seen recent advertisements from Vodafone declaring unlimited downloads at 1.5Mbps, which is at least accurate, even if it is slow.

A recent speed test by Pickr testing phones using both the Telstra and Vodafone network proved that mobiles set to the 1.5Mbps maximum may, in fact, provide a less than comfortable mobile experience, and we suggested telcos may want to consider boosting the maximum download speed to a more standard connection speed in line with the year we’re in. With that in mind, 5 to 10Mbps would make more sense as a cap, setting the slower unlimited connection at ADSL2 speeds rather than the much older ADSL1, which is much slower than even 3G’s HSDPA connections delivers.

That said, even if Telstra and Vodafone did heed our advice, based on the ruling of the federal court, they’d still have problems with the inference that their plans are unlimited without limitations, since there are some indeed.

We’ll keep you updated on this story and others like it as the news breaks.

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