back to article Verizon is gonna axe its 'unlimited' data hogs

Verizon is kicking heavy downloaders and streamers off their "unlimited" not-actually-unlimited mobile plans. Subscribers who average more than 200GB of data downloaded per month have been told they have until February 16 to either move to a different plan or find a new carrier. It's believed atleast 8,200 customers have been …

To all the wireless carriers...

Either your plan is unlimited or it's not! Period. Don't point me to all the crap in the fine print.

In this case with Verizon, apparently it's a 200Gb plan. That's a lot of data, but it's still not unlimited.

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Re: To all the wireless carriers...

"Don't point me to all the crap in the fine print."

Oblivious to the impact to users around you, too cheap to Netflix through a landline?

Buh Bye..

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Re: To all the wireless carriers...

@whoseyourdaddy

"Oblivious to the impact to users around you"

I see no indication of that in the post to which you are responding. I do see a view that an advertised 'unlimited' should mean 'without limit', not '200 _anything_ or less'.

It's Verizon (in this case, many others do the same) who seem to care little for either accuracy of language, or acceptance of the possible uses people might make if those people were foolish enough to believe Verizon actually meant what they said.

At least, that's my view of the OP - yours must and should of course be whatever you choose. Sigh...

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Re: To all the wireless carriers...

"Unlimited" doesn't mean "infinite", it just means there are no pre-set limits. It's simply infantile to say you're going to ignore contractual details.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To all the wireless carriers...

"Unlimited" doesn't mean "infinite"

Right, because infinite means limited.

On means off.

And everyone knows... no means yes.

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Re: To all the wireless carriers...

"It's simply infantile to say you're going to ignore contractual details."

It's infantile - or maybe some other word - to advertise "unlimited" without having first worked out what that might mean and whether you'll be able or prepared to deliver it.

If you don't mean it, don't advertise it.

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Re: To all the wireless carriers...

funny, you can tell who are the 'merikans are who actually DEFENDING doublespeak, and who are the furriners who are puzzled why X does not mean X...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To all the wireless carriers...

Oblivious to the impact to users around you, too cheap to Netflix through a landline?

Careful on that horse, it's a loooong way down!

There could be a multitude of reasons why someone is using wireless broadband… including availability of fixed-line services or the fact that the person might move around a lot and don't want the hassle of getting a wired service moved from house to house every few months.

Plus, in this era of everything being "delivered" over the Internet… video hire shops are closing up… services like NetFlicks might be the only way to get a bit of entertainment in the caravan on not-so-great-to-be-outside days. Try getting ADSL to one of those!

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Re: To all the wireless carriers...

> "Unlimited" doesn't mean "infinite",

Absolutely correct.

> it just means there are no pre-set limits.

No, you should have stopped at infinite.

It means that they don't have a limit that you can violate. If you wanted to put a number on it, an ADSL2 line can in theory download 25Mbps. There are 2678400 seconds in a month. There are 8 bits in a byte, so

2678400 * 25 / 8 = 8370 GB per month.

Don't call something with limits unlimited. At its kindest, that is a bait and switch scheme.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To all the wireless carriers...

""Unlimited" doesn't mean "infinite""

synonyms: inexhaustible, limitless, illimitable, boundless, unbounded, immense, vast, great, extensive, immeasurable, incalculable, untold, unfailing, everlasting, INFINITE

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Re: To all the wireless carriers...

"Unlimited" doesn't mean "infinite"

It means without limits, and a synomyn in the theosaurus is actually infinite.

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Trollface

Re: To all the wireless carriers...

In related news, Verizon is re-branding itself as the Ministry of Truth. . . .

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"Unlimited" doesn't mean "infinite"

unlimited - not limited or restricted in terms of number, quantity, or extent.

Clearly unlimited does not mean infinite, but it does mean "without limit or restriction"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Unlimited" doesn't mean "infinite"

Guess what "bound" can be a synonym for?

If an infinite something is unbounded, and an unlimited something is, well, unlimited, and both ends are synonymous with each other, what was that thing about six of one and half a dozen of the other?

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Re: To all the wireless carriers...

It's not a 200GB plan. It's a plan with an undocumented limit. This week they may kick people off at 200GB. Perhaps next week it will be 100GB. Who knows what the limit really is?

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Re: @art guerrilla

"funny, you can tell who are the 'merikans are who actually DEFENDING doublespeak,"

What fantastical data do you have to support this assumption?

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Re: To all the wireless carriers...

Half-right. "Unlimited", does not mean infinite. It means there is no limit. It means that you can use the available bandwidth throughout the contract period without limit. Aggregate data transfer will be finite. It is the responsibility of the service provider to provide that data transfer accordingly. It is not the responsibility of the consumer to consider the network load implications.

Contradictory fine print is inherently deception.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To all the wireless carriers...

200GB isn't a lot. My unlimited account UKside moves over 1TB/month (Yes, the household streams a lot). The ISP only blinked when it blipped past 2TB one month and then shrugged & increased their notional data cap to 4TB.

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Re: To all the wireless carriers...

> It's infantile - or maybe some other word - to advertise "unlimited" without having first worked out what that might mean

I believe the word you're looking for is "fraudulent"

The USA has laws against bait-and-switch advertising and I'm surprised the FTC hasn't said something.

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Anonymous Coward

Really??

This move shouldn't surprise anyone. Wonder how many customers will bail to other carriers?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really??

There is so much churn in the consumer cell phone market, who could tell if this makes a difference or not? Probably not. I switched off of AT&T a year ago and have been on T-Mobe since, and have not regretted it. In the end, it's all about price per month vs quality of services important to you. I don't stream much on the mobile devices, but my carrier has that covered with free streaming in addition to my normal data usage, which I don't use that much either, and over 4G-LTE most video looks like crap. Fortunately, my new workplace is not very mobile friendly, so I can start using some of the data I never use most of the time. The other reason was AT&T was not consumer friendly, overcharges for most services, and actively sells customer data to law enforcement and other government agencies without a fuss. I'm sure they all do to an extent, but I expect my carrier to put up a little fight for my rights, before handing over the ones and zeros, or install data spliters at major access points just to feed the NSA raw customer traffic. Some pretty blatant bullshit right there.

The future will be in private, long-range, secure digital communication systems that are dirt cheap. Before then, get used to spies and overcharging.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Really??

"The future will be in private, long-range, secure digital communication systems that are dirt cheap. Before then, get used to spies and overcharging."

Cheap, fast, reliable. Pick any TWO. Furthermore, ANY communications medium WILL be subject to the sovereign will of the country where the airspace is bound or the cable is laid, and sea cables are useless without someplace where it lands, so guess where the State can still get you?

IOW, if they're on to spies and overcharging, don't expect it to ever go away because sovereignty can trump just about anything: even commerce.

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Maths!

200GB / 30 Days = 6.7 GB/Day.

(6.7 GB / 24 Hr) * 1024MiB/GB = 284MiB/Hr

278MiB / 3600s = 0.079MiB/s * 8 b/B = 0.632mbps

Those customers are averaging connection speeds of only 0.632mbps, and Verizon has the gall to kick them off their service? Those customers should sue because they're only getting 0.617mbps connection speeds (on average) when I bet they're paying for a 4GLTE plan!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maths!

Because obviously the usage is smoothly distributed over the course of the spherical cow.

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Re: Maths!

Misleading advertising has come back and bit Verizon in the behind. Not much more to it than that.

Okay it's apples vs oranges, but on my VirginMedia 200Mbps down, cable connection I'm bringing down between 3 and 15GByte a day and sending anywhere from 12 to 25 GByte upstream. All legitimate, non-commercial traffic. Every day. VM have a pretty simple traffic management policy, which I stay well within, using my own traffic shaping.

However, if they took Verizon's stance with me, I'd be kicked off inside a week.

I pays my money, I use it considerately, ensuring I'm not swamping my tail-end and the physical connection I share with my neighbours and I stay within their published thresholds. So far they've treated me well, if they decide to play hard ball like this, I'm screwed.

Must keep an eye on T&Cs.

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Re: Maths!

Contention is a bit more serious with cell-phones than cable.

200GB is a huge amount for a phone to use - it almost certainly is being used as a Home broadband-type provider.

Even an Uber driver using data for maps wouldn't need that much surely?

And since you can use Netflix for something like the .0.632Mbps on a phone, you would have to watch an awful lot of TV to use it.

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Headmaster

Re: Maths!

278MiB / 3600s = 0.079MiB/s * 8 b/B = 0.632mbps

Me thinks your maths is off. 0.079×1024² bytes/sec is a lot faster than 0.632×10¯³ bits/sec.

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Re: Maths!

Contention is a bit more serious with cell-phones than cable.

But our government keeps telling us that Mobile data is the solution. No need for expensive fibre rollout everyone can use their mobile data.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maths!

Wait, I've seen maths and assumed usage patterns like this before....

Were you involved with the Australian Census?

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Re: Maths!

@Oengus

Makes sense though. Fibre only has a very small diameter so you can't fit much light through it. But look at all the light you can fit in the outdoors. Clearly that gives much more bandwidth.

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Re: Maths!

> Were you involved with the Australian Census?

No you have me confused with someone else. I've been working on an innovative welfare compliance system where we crosshatch tax records, divide a magic number by 26 and assume every fortnight is paid equally then send out the debt collectors.

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Re: Maths!

Long bus / train commutes & streaming content to keep yourself occupied on those journeys would eat up a lot of bandwidth.: 7 GB a day is easily swallowed by a few hours of HD video streaming each day.

The continual push to use cloud instead of local storage makes a big difference, easy to be in a scenario where all content pushed to / pulled from cloud storage and data usage rockets.

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Semantics of a word

The argument I have seen for this is determining what the word unlimited is. To me, unlimited in the context of internet is unlimited bandwidth. I have been led to believe that the industry wants to use it as unlimited availability. It is an easy assumption to make when you have been on a capped service and move to an unlimited service that there is no cap, meaning you have unlimited availability and bandwidth. I don't know why one would be surprised by this confusion? I guess it gives the ISP's an easy out when they say "Oh we meant X, not Y" and then boot people who they perceive are abusing the service, but can still advertise it as just unlimited.

It also gets interesting when they perceive you to be using a home broadband connection for business services. They can get nasty about that too.

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Re: Semantics of a word

"... when they perceive you to be using a home broadband connection for business services."

What do they base that on? I remember that Virgin Media used to have T&Cs that said you can't run a web server at home but I thought that was because they'd designed their network so it was better at delivering data to homes than accepting it up for redelivery.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Semantics of a word

According to the VM Sales Drones the restriction about not running your own webserver still applies.

I had a 'discussion' with one only the other day about it not that I was serious about moving to VM.

200Mb service up my street? Who are they kidding. Even 3g is faster between 3pm-midnight than their shitty co-ax network.

I run a small webserver (CentOS on a NUC) and to be honest, most of the traffic are the 'bots' trying to break into the site or slurp the contents regardless of the settings in 'robots.txt'. As all these seem to originate from the USA or China several people in both countries must seem to think that my site holds nuclear secrets or something equally important but it does not. So spooks, if you... sorry, when you read this post please take note. My webserver does not contain any secrets, porn or subversive/terrorist pages or documents so you can eff off.

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Re: Semantics of a word

It's not unlimited "availability" either. Not geographical availability, not time of day availability, (both of which would be available to the same extent under a lesser plan) and certainly not "we'll leave you in the plan even if you exceed the bandwidth we think is reasonable". That would be a kind of unlimited availability.

I haven't seen any evidence of "semantics", rather a 10-year-old trying to cheat at marbles.

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Obviously not actually unlimited

Reminds me slightly of insurance companies. Make too many, high-value claims and they either refuse to insure you or raise the premium to such extortionate levels that the poor old customer can't actually afford it. All works well for the company all the while they're taking your money but if they have to pay out, it's a different story. So-called "unlimited" data deals were always too good to be true. ISP's don't like customers actually using the service as advertised. Throwing people off seems very underhand to me, if they are merely taking up what the ISP offers. A deal's a deal in my book and this does smack of welching but I guess there may be something hidden in terms and conditions that cover this.

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Re: Obviously not actually unlimited

MS had also redefined unlimited when some of its customers actually pushed the limits of OneDrive storage.

Conclusion - never trust service providers when you see word unlimited and TOS are too long to fit in one page (of legible print).

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Re: Obviously not actually unlimited

Or indeed gambling houses who banning patrons who win.

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Re: Obviously not actually unlimited

Well, at least casinos RESERVE the right to evict unwanted patrons provided the law doesn't prevent them from doing so. They're just like any other public-facing establishment in that regard. Plus they tend to be up-front about it.

Whereas this whole "unlimited" business smacks of False Advertising: something that can be taken to court.

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Trollface

Re: Obviously not actually unlimited

I liked the traditional style of unlimited ISP where a fly-by-night ISP rents a freephone PoP and pimps the service to end users until the upstream supplier submits a winding up order

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Devil

Unlimited? Inconceivable!

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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Facepalm

Unlimited advertising data....

Yes, that's what they mean, surely....

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Anonymous Coward

Off Topic: Whoopee! El Reg has HTTPS! Almost

Just noticed a little text string at the head of this comments page.

"Hello! The TLS version of the site isn't quite ready for prime time, please bear with us... Contact us at webmaster@ for any issue! "

...and the browser URL starts with "https". Sometimes good things do come to those who wait.

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WTF?

Re: Off Topic: Whoopee! El Reg has HTTPS! Almost

About fucking time too.

Probably because the hit count has dropped so low these days that the server can manage https without struggling...

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Re: Off Topic: Whoopee! El Reg has HTTPS! Almost

It's a cloudflare certificate, so at least the initial hop is encrypted. Doesn't mean traffic between cloudflare and El Reg is encrypted. It might be but you can't tell. Anyway kudos for removing prying eyes from at least the most vulnerable link.

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Hmmm, shades of well....typical behavior

Verizon does it's damnedest to get rid of EVERY customer at some time or another. After sulking away, and finding you a better deal, maybe even one where unlimited really is not limited in any fashion they beg you to come back....What? Come back and be abused some more? I want Verizon bankrupted and I don't care how it happens. I want it now!

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When does unlimited not mean unlimited?

More to the point, when does it mean unlimited?

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US Sprint Ads

Verizon is such POS outfit that Sprint is using Verizon's former pitchman to do ads for Sprint. That is all I need to know, avoid Verizon at all costs. Plus, Verizon has to cover their M&A bungling of the Putrid Palace by screwing the customers.

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$73,000 is only .004 percent of the over $18,000,000 received as compensation by the CEO of Verizon in 2015 according to salary.com. He could donate this out of his own pocket and write it off on his taxes, but then greed is something that CEO's and Verizon, in particular, are very, very good at.

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