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3 Mobile UK Joins O2 to Scrap Unlimited Mobile Broadband Advertising

Posted: 02nd Jul, 2010 By: MarkJ
three 3 uk mobile logoMobile operator Three (3) UK has scrapped its use of "unlimited" wording when promoting Mobile Broadband internet data tariffs for its vast range if Smartphone's, which often hid more restrictive Fair Usage Policy (FUP) caps under the surface. The move mirrors a position taken by rival O2 last month (here).

3 Mobile UK CEO, Kevin Russell, said that talking about unlimited data or unlimited anything "when it's not unlimited" was "one of the dumbest things I've done". Russell later told the BBC Click TV show that "unlimited data plans are unclear and unfair".

In place of "unlimited" Three (3) has added clear usage allowances of 500MB or 1GB (1000MB) to any mobile tariff that includes an internet data plan. In some cases this presents a doubling of the usage allowance that once existed, only to be hidden underneath 3's "unlimited" promotions.

The move follows news last month that the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had launched a review into how internet services, specifically those offered by broadband ISP and mobile operators, are marketed. The review itself will take a comprehensive look at the use and abuse of misleading broadband speed and "unlimited" claims (here).

It's unclear how aggressive the ASA will be when it finally posts the outcome of this review. Consumers will be hoping that the ASA doesn't go soft and forces a greater degree of honesty within the market, allowing for a fairer comparison between all internet providers. We have seen far too many examples of ISPs claiming "unlimited" and then employing contradictive restrictions in the small print.
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