SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Virgin Mobile: More abuse of the word ‘unlimited’

Posted by Admin on November 20, 2008

I saw this interesting piece from Ben at Mobile Industry Review.

In summary, Virgin Mobile has launched a new 30p per day mobile data rate; but, although they claim it is unlimited, there is a limit of 25mb per day.

A classic example of so near, yet so far. 30p per day is a brilliantly simple offering that everyone can understand – it means that anyone can try out mobile data (maybe by browsing or downloading some music, maybe by checking Facebook from the phone or looking at some funky new services) for a single, easy to understand fee. It also means that if you’ve tried it in the morning, you can with no fear or worries go back again in the evening. You can relax and become a regular user of mobile data.

That is until you read the small print …

If you do that then you have to know how much 25mb of data is and have an understanding of what you can do before you reach your limit. In fact in puts you in exactly the same situation as before the 30p per day offer – worried about bill shock.

And let’s be clear here, for most people it’s the fear of bill shock that restricts them not the actual cost.

There are a number of comments on the original post that suggest that 25mb is actually quite a lot for a normal user to get through in a day. That maybe the case, but as I said it’s the fear of bill shock that counts.

Overall I think that this is a good move. Operators are starting to make pricing simple to understand – what they have to address now is making usage simple to understand ie how much can I use, how much have I used so far etc etc.


2 Responses to “Virgin Mobile: More abuse of the word ‘unlimited’”

  1. 25MB is “marginal” in my view. It’s OK for normal web browsing & email, but it would be killed by a podcast, or a video download, or heavy use of Google maps.

    Really, it needs to be married to a realtime data counter on the phone to avoid bill shock. If you know that you had used 23MB on any given day, you’d be able to delay that “discretionary” podcast download until tomorrow.


  2. smsisthenewblack said

    Dean, I agree. I think that it’s all about bill shock, or even the fear of bill shock. As a normal user if there are limits (which I can’t easily measure) to the unlimited deal then I will always live in fear of bill shock which will affect my downloading habits.

    If either there are no limits, or people can easily measure their usage, then this kind of offer might be a game changer.

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