Could this signal a sea change?
T-Mobile is bringing web surfing to the masses with the news it will offer free data surfing to its pre-pay customers when they top up at least £10 per month. The news follows on from the network's decision to bring "free texts for life" under the same minimum spend condition.
So what of the fine print? Yes, it really is just £10 per month and you will have access on any pre-pay T-Mobile smartphone (notably the Android based Pulse) (pictured centre) to whatever sites and content you like. The big problem is despite these honourable intentions we are once again witnessing a dangerous use of the term "unlimited".
T-Mobile says its fair usage policy will restrict users to 40MB of data per day. Over a month this works out to a healthy 1.2GB, far more than either the O2 or Orange iPhone tariffs provide. That said, I would actually rather have the 750MB allowance from Orange since it has far better flexibility.
After all, I think I speak for the majority here when I say, there are as many days when I don't use a lot of data as I do and this allows me to enjoy more data intensive services like Spotify as and when I want. Under the T-Mobile tariff - regardless of your previous monthly usage - Spotify usage would be entirely impractical given it would last no more than 20 minutes before you start doing serious financial damage. The same could quickly be true of YouTube or any other streaming services?
That said, the T-Mobile deal represents the very best and worst of UK networks at this time. The best being their desire to encourage data usage and make it more affordable to all users. The worst is this ubiquitous and near criminal adoption of the term 'unlimited'. 750MB per month is not unlimited, 40MB per day is not unlimited. Tell you what networks, I'll help you out.
Courtesy of Dictionary.com:
Definition of unlimited
1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined: unlimited trade.
2. boundless; infinite; vast: the unlimited skies.
3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional.
Are we clear yet?