Subtel instructs cellcos to ensure transparency over ‘unlimited’ offers

9 Apr 2018

Chilean watchdog the Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel) has warned mobile network operators (MNOs) Claro, Movistar, Entel and WOM and MVNO Virgin Mobile that their ‘unlimited’ offerings are not transparent, instructing the operators to make changes or face charges. Subtel notes that offers listed as ‘unlimited’ by the providers include various limitations, including reductions to speed at certain times or when a particular limit is reached. The regulator acknowledged that the constraints are being reported as traffic control measures by operators, in line with current regulations. However, the term ‘unlimited’ leads customers to expect ‘inexhaustible capacity of data and a stable quality,’ the regulator added, which is not currently reflected in the offerings marketed as such. Consequently, Subtel believes that the use of the term confuses customers by not using ‘simple and transparent language’. The regulator has given the operators three days to explain how they will change their offerings or marketing to ensure transparency for customers.

The development follows on the heels of proceedings initiated by consumer rights watchdog the National Consumer Service (Servicio Nacional del Consumidor, Sernac) last week, which accused Movistar, Entel and WOM of misleading customers by attaching constraints to plans advertised as ‘unlimited’.