back to article Unlimited mobile data in America – where's the catch? There's always a catch

Sprint and T-Mobile US are introducing "all you can eat" internet plans, and as you might expect, someone at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco is horrified. Somebody always is. The EFF tut-tutted at dirt-poor Indian farmers getting Ceefax pages on their mobiles for free – and the Indians obligingly banned it …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    How much?

    $50 for 2GB???? What on earth are they thinking? Almost as bad a EE with their 500Mb plans.

    1. JetSetJim

      Re: How much?

      As bad as EE? I pay £10 for 1GB/mo. SIM only, admittedly, and I paid full whack for the actual phone I'm using rather than the buy-back-via-monthly-contract option.

    2. Swarthy
      Paris Hilton

      Re: How much?

      Actually, for US prices, that's cheap! We septics are getting screwed worse than her -->

      1. JetSetJim

        Re: How much?

        If you're septic and getting screwed, I hope you don't pass on the infection. Personally, I've always been sceptical about US pricing

  2. Chris Miller

    The problem is that the current ISP model is like an all you can eat buffet, where one in 10 customers eats all the food, one in 100 takes his chair home too, and one in 1,000 unscrews all the fixtures and fittings and loads them into a van as well.

    This was written in 2008 about fixed line ISP offerings, but nothing really changes ...

  3. Efros

    No catch...

    they just lie.

  4. ecofeco Silver badge

    Late to the party

    I already have unlimited mobile data on a second tier provider and have for the last 3 years. For $40 per month.

    The catch? Throttled after 2GB from 4G to 3G. As I don't watch movies or play bandwidth sucking games or music, I'm usually not throttled until the last few days of the month.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tethering for video'?

    Frankly, when I need it, it's just because I'm doing some tasks complex enough which my phone can't handle, which usually doesn't involve watching some silly movie or show. Everything is becoming so monodimensional due to media and CEOs who can't look beyond their nose people who actually use their connections in different ways are hampered in their use, and find themselves to pay more than needed.

    Luckily bypassing some tether blocks is not so difficult.

  6. Oengus

    When is unlimited not unlimited

    I had a look at the Terms and Conditions (yes I know no one is supposed to read them) of one carriers offering Unlimited calls and text. Their idea of Unlimited calls was 2000 minutes per month which I worked out to be just over 1 hour per day. Not exactly my idea of unlimited...

    I did find one operator that offered a "limited" offering of 43200 minutes per month (30 day cycle not calendar month) now that is what I call unlimited (do the maths).

    In Australia "Unlimited Data" on a mobile is like Oz (fantasy land)... I keep living in hope though that one carrier will break free and the rest will have to follow.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Number6

    My current plan has a 3GB cap but I rarely get anywhere near that. Mind you, I don't consider a phone to be a suitable medium for watching videos so that probably saves me because it's something I rarely do. A bit of email, web browsing and navigation obviously doesn't use much.

  9. joed

    There's a reason why some stick to prepaid (and voice only). 70$ a month? Not unless I can write it as a business expense.

    1. Number6

      For some the monthly option works out cheaper. The US still has the quaint concept of minutes that expire, so you're looking at a monthly payment of some sort anyway even on prepaid. When you've got a family, the cost of adding an extra phone to a monthly plan is cheaper than adding to a set of prepaid phones.

      In the UK we had a spare phone for emergencies or to lend to overseas guests with a PAYG SIM in it and provided it was interacting with the network enough, it stayed valid and didn't cost anything. It did get an awful lot of ambulance-chaser text messages though. That's not practical in the US, if you don't keep paying you lose it.

  10. frank ly

    First world problem

    "A customer who has used almost all of her data could still binge on HBO, but would be unable to make an important video call with her doctor,"

    Are there many people who have important video calls with their doctor?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: First world problem

      Well, it depends on what sort of role playing you're doing with your girlfriend on a given night.

      That's my lab coat on the hook there, I'll just grab it as I have an important video call to make...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: First world problem

      Yes, i have to wait about 3 weeks to see mine!!!

  11. Metrognome

    All you can eat

    You write: " And not one, anywhere, has lasted very long." I beg to differ. Swisscom in Switzerland has been offering these all-you-can-eat/doownload packages since at least 2010 and they're still going strong.

    Mind you, they have priced them accordingly.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All you can eat

      I've been on Three all you can eat data for £13 a month for god knows how long, think they've forgotten I exist as the price has not changed since I first started. Regularly go over 10 GB a month as I have no need to use the work wifi. Was a godsend when I first moved into my flat as BT didn't see fit to install the internet for 2 months. Have to pay extra to tether but iirc it's only an extra fiver.

  12. Florida1920

    Virgin Mobile/Sprint

    Virgin Mobile, my carrier, is now owned by Sprint. My monthly plan costs $35. No idea how many phone minutes that buys -- I never use it up. But it offers "unlimited data." Ha! After 2.5 GB they'll throttle the download speed. Got a warning last week that I'd reached 85% of allowance.

    OGs like me carry GPS-enabled phones in hope the authorities will find our remains before the vultures do, so neither minutes or bandwidth are a problem for me. Does seem pretty cheesy, though. So I use Wi-Fi when I need to update the few apps I have. The Joy of Capitalism.

    The one with the cheap Moto G in the pocket.

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Carrier fee for suckers

    T-Mobile only knows how much tethering data you're using when it passes through their custom tethering app. Without it, tethering data is normal data like it should be. It's an odd and expensive penalty for buying your phone from a T-Mo store rather than from the manufacturer.

  14. Cuddles

    Maths check needed.

    "If you're Octomom, the price goes down to $20 per line."

    No it doesn't. As a family tends towards an infinite size, the price per line will asymptotically approach $20, but a mere 8 children is nowhere near that.

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