Is “Unlimited” a Dirty Word?

In news today, AAPT has launched an unlimited ADSL2+ broadband plan according to Australian IT. In the past, ISPs have been caught short for using the term “unlimited” with the ACCC with fine print about usage caps, speed throttling, peak and off peak quotas, etc. Otherwise, those who have been brave enough to offer truly unlimited plans have been torn to shreds for network congestion, traffic prioritisation or delivering a substandard service on the whole.

Now, I can’t speak for the quality of the AAPT network and products but I would be really interested to see how things go over the next couple of months. Personally, I use TPG on a 150GB plan (40GB peak and 110GB off peak) and find that satisfies my needs so long as I schedule those larger downloads to start in the wee hours of the morning. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a extra peak data to play with at the end of the billing cycle. Generally speaking though, I find my speeds are acceptable ( syncing at about 17mbps and sacrifice 3mbps for IPTV which has come in handy). I will say though, if you are one to rely on customer service, TPG is probably not the ISP for you.

I do have to wonder whether or not offering an unlimited plan will truly disrupt the market and force other players to play their cards. This almost has the hallmarks of the original mobile phone cap plans in Australia several years ago which triggered a race to the bottom. Whilst these plans were great for consumers they also eroded the profit margins for the mobile carriers and were clearly unsustainable. At least in my opinion, cap plans have gradually decreased in value compared to the original ones (some of which offered “per second billing”). AAPT might carve out some incremental market share as a result of this offer but I can’t see the other established players following suit very quickly.

In Australia, the majority of data is effectively imported from overseas, predominantly the US. Sourcing data from overseas isn’t cheap and has been one of the primary reasons that download quotas have existed in our country. I am sure this will be a sore point for AAPT when people start to give their connections some extra heavy duty use. 24/7 torrents anyone?

The other drawback with this plan is only available on a 24 month contract as a bundle which could make it an expensive exercise to terminate if you are unhappy with part or all of the service. If you aren’t afraid of putting all your eggs in one basket then this might be for you but I would steer clear until the dust settles and the capability and reliability of the AAPT network is proven over the next three to six months.

Just don’t be surprised if this offer disappears in the not too distant future.

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  1. […] wasn’t too long ago that AAPT launched their own unlimited plan (including home phone and a monthly quota of downloadable music up to a fixed value). Could this […]

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