Geotagged at the Yahoo! London office (51.5141985,-0.1292006)

Reaching The Limits Of Unlimited

Consider for a moment the word unlimited; it's an adjective and, if you'll pardon the condescension, it means the following:

  1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined
  2. boundless; infinite; vast
  3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional

Except in the world of mobile data or mobile broadband, where unlimited means, in a vaguely disturbing twisted, inverted, doublespeak sort of way, the exact opposite.

Vodafone, my current UK mobile provider, helpful tells me that I have unlimited data, subject to their fair use policy which promptly redefines unlimited as very much limited indeed and your limit is 5GB per month. That's a lot of data. Even being the compulsive photo uploader, web browser, Foursquare and Gowalla check in, Twitter and Facebook poster and checker that I am, I'm hard pressed to go above 500MB per month let alone 5GB.

So I was both vastly amused and somewhat shocked when this text arrived on my iPhone on the way home from work last night.

Impossibility #1 : Reaching the limits of unlimited.

A quick call to Vodafone luckily cleared this up as being a glitch in their billing systems and I would not, as stated be charged, nor had I gotten anywhere near the 5GB limit of unlimited.

I found the whole process rather amusing in hindsight but shouldn't the mobile companies either come clean about what unlimited really means or just don't sell unlimited data as a concept at all and just sell a, 5GB in my case, data limit?

Gary Gale

I'm Gary ... a Husband, Father, CTO at Kamma, geotechnologist, map geek, coffee addict, Sci-fi fan, UNIX and Mac user