Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Limited Unlimited? Unlimited Limits?

by Dick Mac

I am often surprised at how misinformed I am.

I was under the mistaken impression that "unlimited" meant without limits.

Irrespective of the actual definition of "unlimited" it even sounds like it means without limits. I was surfing around the web trying to confirm my suspicion that unlimited does, indeed, mean without limits. I found these tidbits:
un·lim·it·ed \-ˈli-mə-təd\ adj
1: lacking any controls : unrestricted
2: boundless, infinite
3: not bounded by exceptions : undefined

See, Merriam-Webster.
And this:
un·lim·it·ed (n-lm-td) adj.
1. Having no restrictions or controls: an unlimited travel ticket.
2. Having or seeming to have no boundaries; infinite: an unlimited horizon.
3. Without qualification or exception; absolute: unlimited self-confidence.

See, The Free Dictionary
Unlimited may refer to:
An unlimited or infinite quantity
See, wikipedia
And this:
un·lim·it·ed   [uhn-lim-i-tid] adjective
1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined: unlimited trade.
2. boundless; infinite; vast: the unlimited skies.
3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional.

See, dictionary.com

So, unlimited means without limits.

An unlimited salad bar means I can graze at that crap salad bar in the middle of the restaurant until I am bloated so much that I can't eat another bite.

Unlimited coffee, usually referred to as a bottomless cup of coffee, means my mug will be re-filled with coffee, either automatically or on demand, until I pay my bill.

An unlimited data plan means that I can use the data portion of my telephone service as much as I like through every billing cycle.

An unlimited supply means that there is an inexhaustible amount of whatever we are discussing.

Except when it doesn't mean that.

That is, your unlimited plan actually does have a limit (even though you signed-up and are paying for a plan with no limits).

AT&T has started cutting the data speeds of the top 5% of their data users. They insist it is part of an attempt to manage data usage on its network. You pay for unlimited service, but AT&T has put a limit on your service.

Once you pass an arbitrary amount of usage (seemingly around 2.5 GB per month), AT&T cuts your speed by 99%. NINETY-NINE PERCENT. They all but shut you down, even though you have, in good faith, paid them for unlimited service. Even if you are only half-way into the billing cycle!

Unfair is a word that comes to mind. Immoral is another word for AT&T's action. Certainly it is a breach of contract, unless the Unlimited contract actually states that is limited, then it's fraud.

Hey! I have an idea: let's deregulate the telecommunications industry. Prices will go down, competition will increase, all while employees and shareholders will all earn more money. It's simple.

AT&T customers surprised by 'unlimited data' limit

1 comment:

J. Sebastian said...

For the possible benefit of anyone else reading this post:

I just went to T-Mobile. By my calculations, AFTER buying out of my AT&T contract and AFTER buying all new hardware for 3 lines, I'll still save approx. $2,400 over 2 years, and will have less limits (or at least not more). Verizon, I noticed, once you add up everything and divide by 24 (months), is almost exactly the same price point - but at least everyone I know w/Verizon is happy w/them. Sprint seems decent for 1 line, with true unlimited data, but as soon as you add additional lines the value proposition isn't there - compared to them I'm saving closer to $3500.