'Unlimited': use with caution, Telstra

Telstra has today aired details of its latest unlimited offering in the $129 cap plan, and while it's great that the telco's plans are becoming more and more competitive, has Telstra read the warning label properly?

commentary Telstra today aired details of its latest unlimited offering, the $129 cap plan. While it's great that the telco's plans are becoming more and more competitive, has Telstra read the warning label properly?

Caution tape

(Caution tape image by Eugene Zemlyanskiy, CC 2.0)

Don't get me wrong, unlimited is great as a concept, but in practice, it seems to land companies in court faster than NextG on heat.

I'm convinced that as soon as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) watchdog hears the word unlimited, its ears prick up and its nose goes straight for the terms and conditions.

Optus for example, has been taken to court not once but twice over its use of "unlimited".

In both instances, the ACCC argued that the use of the term unlimited was deceptive, and contravened section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974, which states that "a corporation shall not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive".

With this new plan, like all plans that have come before it, the devil went down to legal and buried himself in the detail.

Unlimited in the plan that was announced today pertains only to "standard national calls and SMS/MMS messaging to any Australian network".

The Oxford Dictionary defines "unlimited" as: "not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity, or extent." What? No mention of "fairplay"? And looking at Telstra's terms and conditions set out on its NextG Cap Plans page, there doesn't seem to be any fairplay policy that applies to this offer.

Will Telstra find itself in hot water over the new "unlimited" offerings? I feel the temperature rising.

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