as defined by Webster Dictionary.
lacking any controls : UNRESTRICTED unlimited access
There is no such thing as Unlimited Internet
and it is time we bust the myth
Why would any company give you an unlimited supply of internet?
They would not. Why would a business give away something they can sell? Unlimited is a sales tactic. Lots of internet companies out there use the term because we have been conditioned to want “unlimited”. In reality, no one has unlimited. Every service has a limit. To find that limit, you have to read the Terms of Service.
For example, Comcast has the highest unlimited I know of and that is 1 terabyte of data. One terabyte is a lot but that is still a limit.
How do they get around not providing “unlimited”?
Another tactic that is used with the unlimited moniker is that as long as you have internet of any speed, then technically, you still have internet even though it is too slow to do something as simple as stream a video. Slowing the speed is called throttling or prioritizing.
What is throttling and prioritizing?
Throttling is the act of slowing donw your internet service speed. It is done to slow the amount of data you are using.
Prioritizing is a nice way of saying throttling. If you use too much data, the company may prioritize you to the back of the internet line and your speed will drop to dialup.
Some companies don’t want to use either term so if you use too much of their unlimited data, they will call you an “abuser” and use that as a reason to throttle or prioritize.
Here are a few random examples presented in alphabetical order.
The words are directly from the companies websites and the words in red are the limits.
Actually, I will start with my site because I was as guilty as everyone else.
UnlimitedInternetAnywhere – this was my site when I was a gotw3. I never disclosed anywhere that unlimited actually meant about 750 GB.
AT&T Unlimited Elite
Get unlimited data, HD streaming, 30GB of mobile hotspot data, plus HBO Max included
After 100GB, AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds if the network is busy.
Straight from their website: https://tinyurl.com/y45rq77c
Net All Over – from their Terms & Policies
This is a site that tells you it is unlimited in the first sentence but then takes an entire paragraph to tell you all the ways the carrier (AT&T, Verizon,T-mobile) will prioritize you, throttle you and enforce “fair use”.
This Internet service is provided to you on an unlimited basis. By your continued use of this service, you acknowledge that we purchase LTE services on a wholesale basis from various LTE carriers and that while download and uploads are unlimited,
due to technological limitations of LTE, these carriers may at times deprioritize your service during peak times or overuse of the service by you or others using your service. Deprioritization means that your service may be placed at a lower response than others on a tower if you hit their specified thresholds for daily downloads and/or uploads. It will not be limited; ie. you will still be able to use it, however it may lag during games or it may buffer some videos during periods of deprioritization.</p style=color:red”:>
NoLimitData – from their Support & FAQ page
You agree to use our membership data plans accordingly and responsibly. You agree to use less than the monthly data limit for that plan and weekly data limit listed for the plan you choose. For our Blue 500Gb plan we have a 150GB weekly limit and for our 800Gb plan we have a 200GB weekly limit that is stated in plan details. Our Unlimited Blue plan does not have a weekly limit. The Pink plans have a 900Gb limit and no weekly limit. All plans are on a 30 day monthly cycle. We do not throttle our internet service, but speeds may be de-prioritized after 50gb during high network congestion…..
NomadInternet – from their FAQ
Is your service really unlimited?
Yes! No more data caps and no more data overages**! All of our plans include unlimited high speed data for normal internet usage such as gaming, movies, streaming music, and surfing the internet! However, downloading illegal content as well as data abuse is prohibited. Data abusers are those who use BitTorrenting or go through over 400+GBs a month. The average Household uses less than 250 GBs a month.
RV-4G – From Terms of Service
They are not hiding anything. These statements are in bold.
SECTION 21 – PINK Plans
On all PINK plans, during congestion, the small fraction of customers using >50GB per month may notice reduced speeds until the next payment cycle due to data prioritization.
SECTION 22 – ORANGE Plans
On all ORANGE plans, during congestion, the small fraction of customers using >100 GB per month may notice reduced speeds until the next payment cycle due to data prioritization.
Ubifi – from their FAQs page
Yes, the service allows for unlimited data usage without high speed data caps, usage based throttling, or overage charges. However, because the service operates off of a wireless 4G LTE connection, you may still encounter periods of slow connectivity if/when there’s increased network traffic and/or tower outages/maintenance affecting your service area.
Unlimitedville from their support page
IS YOUR SERVICE REALLY UNLIMITED?
For normal internet usage, YES! No more data caps! No more overages! All of our plans include unlimited high speed data for normal internet usage such as streaming music, movies, surfing, gaming and more! However, surfing/downloading illegal content as well as data abuse is prohibited. Data abusers are those who purposefully push limits or conduct known illegal activity like torenting etc. If you consistently burn through over 500+GBs/mo, that is typically considered outside of normal internet usage and in some cases you could be asked to split your usage between two accounts. To put that into perspective the average Household in America uses less than 200 GBs/month.
So just please utilize our devices with regular discretion so we can continue to provide our members with high speed wireless internet.
USLTE — Terms and FAQ’s
What is de-prioritization and does USLTE employ this strategy.
Think of your LTE data connection as an all-you-can-eat buffet with the data being the food. You can consume as much as you want to as long as you are being fair. If you have already had your first plate of food (data in this case) and you are ready for your second plate, you may have to wait a little bit for someone else who has not yet eaten. If you go to the buffet during lunchtime, you should expect to wait a little longer to get your food than you would if you went in the afternoon. The wait, although inconvenient, does not limit the amount you can consume. The same thing happens on LTE networks. So, during peak times and heavy congestion, de-prioritization may occur.
De-prioritization is the carrier’s way of making sure everyone utilizing the network gets their fair share by making some wait while others are served. We cover 3 million people!
De-prioritization does not happen until the line has consumed more than 20 GB of data and does not limit the amount that can be consumed, but it does keep people from abusing all-you-can-eat-data privileges.
U2 Connect – Usage Policy
They state in bold letters it is not unlimited
Although the carriers do not provide hard data caps or limits of potential usage in the description of the plans they provide, algorithms monitor the networks constantly for traffic and congestion issues. 4G LTE data plans are provisioned on a shared network and the carriers guard against any one user detrimentally impacting other users. The carriers will act to control this detrimental impact by slowing speeds, restricting use, and worst case, canceling service without warning or notice as they see fit.
Unlimited does not mean unlimited data at unlimited speeds.
Verizon – is a lot more vague but the limits are there
Get access to 50 GB of 5G Nationwide / 4G LTE premium data per month. 5G access requires a 5G-capable device. Plus 720p HD streami……
Unlimited mobile hotspot 30 GB of 5G Nationwide / 4G LTE data
Your smartphone can become a Wi-Fi connection for other devices. Get up to 30 GB of 5G Nationwide / 4G LTE data. 5G access requires a 5G-capable device. After exceeding allowance, 600 Kbps speeds for the rest of the month
Straight from their website: https://tinyurl.com/y6se4z8a
Network Management: Service may be slowed, suspended, terminated, or restricted for misuse, abnormal use, interference with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users, or significant roaming.