Unlimited means no restrictions

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 21, 2007
Updated • Dec 1, 2012

That is at least the definition by us common folks who are happy to get an unlimited plan - be it Internet or mobile phone - only to find out that the fine prints are detailing lots of exclusions that turn the advertised unlimited plan into a limited one. I'm not a marketing expert nor a lawyer but this does look fishy to me.

Why are companies allowed to advertise unlimited plans if those are in fact limited? I could recount dozens of stories on the Internet where someone got kicked because they had been using 'an excessive amount of traffic'. I mean, if they say unlimited it should mean that you could download 24/7 with full speed without facing consequences, that's what the word unlimited means in my opinion.

So, my question would be if it would be possible to sue those companies who advertise unlimited plans but kick you as soon as your traffic exceeds their figure X. From my point of view this is misdirection. Consumers think that unlimited means unmetered, but what do lawyers say about this?

The same issue exists for other popular marketing words such as flatrate. Flatrate in the beginning meant just that, that you could use a service for as long and as much as you want without having to pay extra. Today, almost everything seems to be advertised as a flatrate, even though it often means that you get a limited connection, limited bandwidth, or will notice speed drops once you cross an artificial limit the provider has set.



Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. D3 said on September 22, 2007 at 3:11 am

    you have to read the fine print and read what ‘unlimited’ actually means to that company.

  2. OLIRC said on September 21, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    It’s like Skype where i pay for make almost free telephone calls to land lines unlimited but they talk about “Fair Use”?

  3. cc said on September 21, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    It does seem a little strange why nobody’s bothered to take up this issue for so long. After all, aren’t the rights of consumers at stake here?

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.