Telstra's New $69 Unlimited Data Plan Isn't Exactly Unlimited

Image: iStock

Telstra have just announced its very first smart phone plan with "unlimited" data ... but it has a speed cap.

And you have to bring your own phone.

Called 'Endless Data BYO Plan', it is priced at $69 per month, with a minimum cost of $828 over 12 months. The plan comes with 'unlimited data', but only the first 40GB per month will be uncapped. If you go over the limit the speed will drop to 1.5Mbps.

Image: Telstra

"We know how important it is to our customers that they can access the fastest speeds available to them on our network. That’s why our unlimited plan comes with 40GB of data to enjoy at uncapped speeds, unlimited sports action, and then data capped at 1.5Mbps to get customers through the month if they need it," says Vicki Brady, Group Executive of Telstra Consumer & Small Business.

This sounds a lot like Optus' 'Unleashed' plans from earlier this year that also offered 'unlimited' data with a 1.5Mbps cap. It didn't go unnoticed by media outlets and when the telco was questioned by the Australian Financial Review, all marketing material relating to the offer was removed from the Optus website.

And while this certainly isn't the same situation that Optus was in back in 2012 when it was fined $3.6 million for offering "unlimited" download plans that had undisclosed limitations - it still doesn't entirely sit right.

In fact, it begs the question on whether 'unlimited' is an appropriate term to be attaching to plans that do, in fact, have limitations.

We have reached out to Telstra for comment and will update this story if we receive a response.


    Looks like a Rip off, smells like a rip off. Yup it's a rip off.

    I'd say if you're going to limit the minimum speed I would be fine to be throttled at was about 5-9, that makes it more than enough for browsing, download apps, or watching HD content. 1.5Mbps would barely be enough to load content-rich websites like twitch and possibly even facebook (as it gets more bloated).

      I’m guessing they do that to limit congestion which would be a big issue for a wireless internet network, especially since it has to deliver voice. I think 1.5 is probably a bit too low but 9 might be too high.

      If the deal was that good people would simply dogpile onto the network, possibly abandoning their fixed broadband, and itd turn into a mess.

      Considering some of us were around for 33k modems 1.5mbps is pretty amazing when it's the fallback because you've used 60GB of data in the month. I don't generally defend Telstra because I dislike a lot of their practises but I don't think they deserve flack for this. I think it's a good step in the right direction. Hopefully as technology and infrastructure improves we'll see the limits raised or removed.

      And side note: All unlimited plans are effectively limited. Even if you've got a unlimited NBN full speed 100Mbit plan it's just that it's limited to a lot more data.

        I'm not giving them flack I'm just expressing my thoughts and concern and I say this as someone who is working for Telstra and has been for 12 years and also someone who grew on dial-up. They are lacking in innovation and whilst faster speed for capping isn't innovative in of itself it would at least differentiate themselves from the market and its competitors.

          I think the problem is with a 5-9 Mbit "capped" speed there'd still be people who smash the network. So congestion would be a major problem. At full speed it's easily possible to cap in a day so a user could conceivably be running 9Mbit non-stop for 29 days. That's potentially over 2 TB of data.

          Obviously not everyone would try to do that, and it'd be pretty tough to actually saturate your connection the whole time. But when you start talking thousands (or tens/hundreds of thousands) of people the network is going to struggle.

          I dunno what the best approach is (other than ensuring your network is robust enough to cope). Maybe have two caps? First 60Gb is full speed, second 60Gb is at 9mbit, after that capped to 1Mbit. Or maybe have a sort of rolling "burst" performance, where a user can do X GB in a few hours then is slowed for a few hours then it returns to full speed? Of course that'd be a pain in the arse for users and hell to explain.

          And sorry I wasn't having a go at you particularly when I said I think 1.5 is ok. There are a lot of people who think it's too slow. But I have real concerns the network would suffer if it wasn't.

    I get that people will whinge because "Tollstra"... but honestly this looks pretty great.

    As someone who is still very happy with his iPhone 7, I'm tempted.

    Personally I'd find it incredibly difficult to use that much data. I imagine the 1.5 GB dl shaping is to prevent people from simply using a phone hotspot as their only internet source.

      Agreed if this was available 6 months ago when I got my iPhone 8 with 60GB a month plan for 140, I would of just kept my old phone and taken this, I picked my plan based on data not device deals. 40GB then shaped at that price, that’s one hell of a deal.

    In fact, it begs the question on whether 'unlimited' is an appropriate term to be attaching to plans that do, in fact, have limitations.Well, it was listed as "Unlimited data", not "Unlimited connection in all ways, shapes and forms to do with as you please". If they never stop you from downloading anything, then they are providing unlimited data.

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