updated 04:35 pm EDT, Mon August 25, 2008
Telus Pushes UL Data Users
Canadian cell provider Telus is attempting to upsell or drive out customers taking greater advantage of the company's unlimited PC data services, according to separate reports. User posts at HowardForums as well as separate claims from individual users allege that Telus is either demanding that customers of its legacy Connect 75 Unlimited service pay for a capped $65 plan with 1GB of data or else is canceling their accounts without warning, giving them in some cases as little as 30 days' advance notice before the account shuts down.
Company representatives contacted by the customers often justify the push by claiming that the users violated their service agreements by engaging in "multi-media streaming" but often using an unclear definition of the term that includes services which cache media rather than streaming it, such as YouTube. Critics also charge that many of these services are too commonplace online and that the provider has freely admitted it targets some customers based on bandwidth problems at the local network node rather than their actual behavior.
"We paid a fairly high fee in order to have an 'Unlimited' data plan," says one family. "The terms of service make no mention of any particular bandwidth cap. The word 'unlimited' implies 'without limit'. Telus did not communicate any such limit to us."
The pressure puts into doubt the historic practice by most carriers of grandfathering plans as long as they remain active and potentially creates precedents for carriers to change the plans themselves without altering the terms. It also threatens some rural or otherwise remote users who may lack an option for fast landline service but still live in areas covered by 3G networks.
US carriers have already instituted more concrete limits for their PC data service, often setting up formal limits of about 5GB but loosening some of the restrictions for downloadable content.
Telus hasn't formally commented on the accusations as of press time. [via Michael Geist]