Optus sues Vodafone over 'Infinite' ads

Optus sues Vodafone over 'Infinite' ads

Summary: After recently copping a ban on advertising certain broadband plans, Optus is now taking Vodafone to court over its "Infinite" mobile phone plan advertisements.


After recently copping a ban on advertising certain broadband plans, Optus is now taking Vodafone to court over its "Infinite" mobile phone plan advertisements.

Optus and Vodafone fight

(Fight Club image by Polina Sergeeva, CC2.0)

In the Federal Court today, Justice Arthur Emmett was told that the telco intends to bring a case against Vodafone over "television and print advertisements put out by Vodafone around the concept of infinite and infinite number of calls".

Vodafone's "Infinite" mobile phone plans offer infinite calls within Australia, infinite texts and infinite access to social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Optus told ZDNet Australia in a statement that it has concerns that the advertising is misleading because it "does not adequately inform consumers of the various qualifications" of the "Infinite" plans. Optus said it is seeking an interim injunction preventing Vodafone from running the ad campaign until a final hearing can take place.

Optus wants the matter to be heard as soon as possible; however, Vodafone's legal team requested a few days to build a defence, stating that the advertisements had been around since mid-November. The advertisements needed to be taken in context, the court heard, as they are aimed at "reasonably educated consumers" who were familiar with mobile phone plans.

Justice Emmett directed Optus to issue a statement of claim by 1pm tomorrow, and asked Vodafone to serve a draft defence by no later than 9:15am on Wednesday. The judge set a further directions hearing for 9:30am on Wednesday.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recently won a case against Optus for misleading advertising relating to its 'Think Bigger' and 'Supersonic' broadband plans. The Federal Court imposed a three-year ban on the telco from running similar campaigns and forced the telco to send letters to customers who signed onto the plans during the time the advertising was running.

Topics: Legal, E-Commerce, Telcos, Optus


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • I haven't even seen the ads and can tell Vodafone are in trouble. When they make the statement "as they are aimed at "reasonably educated consumers" who were familiar with mobile phone plans" it's all over.

    The Optus ad campaign they got in trouble for was actually pretty easy to understand, provided you were a "reasonably educated customer who was familiar with internet plans".

    Good luck Vodafone, but I think you're pushing it uphill.
  • Hey Tezz, you're on the internet, why not actually go and look at the ad/plan first?
    I actually think Vodafone should be commended here for biting the bullet and moving away from the highly misleading "cap" wars for the last decade.

    The Vodafone plans do seem to actually be "infinite" or "unlimited" for a majority of the most common call and txt types. Naturally they exclude international and premium services but that is a fairly reasonable thing to expect and at least on their web site what is and isn't included is fairly obious.

    I am so glad to see an operator moving away from the old "our $49 cap gives you $1,000,000 of calls" with the fine print stating the call costs are $10,000 a minute (if you're lucky and they give you the call rate at all!).

    Perhaps Vodafone is just anticipating the ACCC or TIO coming down heavily on caps soon.
  • OMG, and they reckon the "greedy Telstra mob", are the only ones bleating. This is typical of Optus (IMHO)
  • The Voda ad campaign sounds like it might be yet another example of comms marketers trying to get around word usage which has previously been held to have the capacity to be misleading.

    We saw "free" struck down and then replaced with "$0", and now it sounds as though there may be an attempt to get around the restictions on the use of "unlimited" by replacing it with "infinity". Very clever. Hmmmm. It will be interesting to see what the court thinks.
  • A case of the pot calling the kettle black, lol.
    I dumped Optus long ago for attempting to snare me with their 'Bait & Switch' advertising,
  • Umm, not too many people ever said Optus were much better (if any better) than Telstra.

    Just that Optus (unlike Telstra) weren't handed an Australia wide, monopoly, blank cheque PSTN. As a consequence, Optus shareholders (no, I'm not one - quite the contrary actually) unlike some mouthy TLS shareholders, don't have the audacity to come here whinging about poor Optus and their Optus shares...!

    That's what set's Telstra apart, imo... some shareholders (a small number only) who carry on like complete imbeciles, by blaming the last Coalition government, the previous and current Labor governments, the ACCC, media, their competitors (for legally accessing, sorry leeching is your term isn't it) and frankly, blaming everyone but the culprits - Telstra and of course themselves for (buying) their under performing TLS shares. And they expect sympathy?

    I have never seen an Optus campaigner who support Optus daily on many forums and say things like God Bless Optus and call them Saint Optus (while calling anyone else who doesn't... a disparaging opponent or ignoramus of the Optus icon, out for their own financial agenda)... But I have seen it umpteen times from TLS shareholders.

    Whilst I can admire the conviction, the reasoning is most unpalatable...imho!
  • And I guess you have never noticed that the Head Honcho of Optus, (the guy with the unpronouncable name) bleats to the watchdogs, whenever Telstra appear to be given what is (in his mind at the very least), even the slightest bit of favourable treatment.
  • Hear hear..............talk about a mob that wants to "have their cake and eat it". The record shows that you could never get an Infinite Plan from Optus anyway, even if it was available, because they are off the air that often these days.
  • As far as I am aware, the head honcho at Optus is Paul O'Sullivan. That may be hard for the illiterate to pronounce, but us humans do ok...

    They race to the watchdogs is because your precious Telstra forever break the law ( THAT'S WHY WE HAVE WATCHDOGS AND WHY TELSTRA FOREVER LOSE IN COURT - doesn't that tell you something?).

    That's why Telstra copped a record $16m (from memory) fine, the largest in Aust's, history (re ACCC) for denying access...

    But you keep those NWAT lies (and they are lies) coming. It aint helping those miserable shares, LOL...!
  • Just to affirm Wally, your uneducated (he's not the head honcho) and disgracefully racist innuendo/slur, was obviously aimed at Maha Krishnapillai, the Director of Government and Corporate Affairs, at Optus...
  • There is a note that says "excludes re-routed calls"

    See http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1583728 where the poster says that "re-routed" means "to any 3rd party network". I rang Vodaphone and they said that this was not the case, but it only means 1300 numbers and "freecall" numbers., where you will be charged. We shall see...