Unlimited means unlimited, except in the cell world: Apple signed on to the embarrassing doublespeak of the cellular telephone industry yesterday in its launch with UK cell carrier O2 of the iPhone in Britain. O2 added Wi-Fi to the mix via The Cloud's 7,500 locations as part of the included price in any of three reported plans for service, which start at £35 for 200 minutes of calls and 200 SMS messages. The data plans for EDGE and Wi-Fi are "unlimited" not unlimited. The footnote on O2's information page says that unlimited "fair usage" is included. But that's just garbage.
Just like Verizon's definition of "unlimited BroadbandAccess" meaning "about 5 GB a month regardless of your use, and we'll pretend you're using it illegitimately if you exceed that amount even if you're using it for purposes we define," O2 is playing games. It's not unlimited. It's a limited, unmetered service. You are not paying per byte, but they have a number in their systems, which the company head defined at a press event yesterday as "no more than 1,400 Web page downloads" per day.
Examining O2's site, I can find no specific mention as to what fair usage constitutes for an iPhone. The BlackBerry plan includes just 75 MB per month as part of unlimited fair usage. A special "1024" plan includes 1 GB per month in that definition
The lack of a definition, and the weasel-like nature of redefining a perfectly straightforward word to create market confusion and deception, in which customers are incapable of knowing what's meant even after they sign up for service, is despicable.
Apple should know better.
I would like to call for a set of consumer complaints against the misuse of this term. Any time you see the word "unlimited" used with a proviso or asterisk, write your national regulator or advertising standards board and complain. There's misuse of unlimited privileges, which I can understand: someone using a service in contravention of reasonable terms. But that's not what cell companies mean. They mean, whatever you're doing, however reasonable, we set the limit in unlimited.