EIR has introduced a new mobile service called ‘No Limits Data’ with a limit of 80GB.
The move comes as the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland has said that it is to review the use of terms such as “unlimited” in broadband and mobile ads for services that have limits or “fair use” caps.
When the data limit of the Eir’s ‘No Limits’ service is reached, the company says that the service will be “slowed down”. The company declined to say how slow the amended speed would be, or whether it would still be able to access services such as Whatsapp, Facebook and email.
Eir’s marketing director has defended putting a limit on the new ‘No Limits’ data service, arguing that it amounts to be “effectively uncapped”.
The data limit “is essential to safeguard the quality of all our customers’ experience,” said Susan Brady, managing director of Eir Marketing.
“If an Eir customer reaches 80GB of data usage, which is 10 times more than the average customer’s monthly usage, they won't face extra charges or be cut off from the service. Instead, their speeds will be slowed until their next payment cycle. This will apply to less than 1pc of customers.”
The limited ‘No Limits’ data service comes as the company prepares for a 5G mobile launch in the Autumn.
“No Limits Data is a game-changer for mobile customers in Ireland and an important development as we prepare to deliver 5G in the coming months,” said Ms Brady.
“Our customers want to be connected at all times and to make the best use of every minute, whether that’s catching up on work in the park or on the latest Netflix series on their commute. eir mobile customers can now stream, download, chat and browse without the worry of running up large bills.”
Ms Brady said that the higher monthly data cap is part of the firm’s €150m investment in its mobile network and that half a million Eir mobile customers will “automatically enjoy No Limits Data when they next top up their credit or immediately on applicable bill pay plans”.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) says that it is to undertake a “comprehensive review” of telecom companies’ use of the term, which is leading to some customers getting unexpected additional monthly bills for exceeding hidden data limits.
“In relation to the word unlimited, the ASAI has identified this term as one to be reconsidered and we can confirm that a comprehensive review will be undertaken,” said a spokeswoman for the ASAI, adding that it specifically targeting telecoms firms who advertise mobile and broadband services.
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At present, the ASAI allows broadband and mobile firms to describe their services as “unlimited” on billboards, television ads and websites if the hidden data cap affects no more than 1pc of the firm’s customers. The firms can do this by describing the data limits, which can vary substantially by provider, as “fair use policies”.
But the term has sparked dozens of complaints to the ASAI in recent years, with some customers expressing shock that an “unlimited” service is legally allowed to have hidden limits.