Subtel orders cellcos to remove term ‘unlimited’ from tariff plans

17 Apr 2018

Chile’s Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel) has ordered Claro, Movistar, Entel, Wom and Virgin Mobile to cease using the term ‘unlimited’ for their commercial offers. Subtel had discovered earlier this month that the cellcos’ ‘unlimited’ offerings included various constraints – such as decreasing download speeds during certain times or once a traffic quota has been reached – which misled and confused customers. The regulator gave the operators three days to formulate and present a plan to make their offerings more transparent. Having reviewed the responses, Subtel says that the arguments presented were ‘not convincing’ and has ordered the providers to expunge the term ‘unlimited’ from their offerings by 1 May 2018. Subtel reiterated that the term ‘unlimited’ has a clear meaning for users, who expect ‘inexhaustible capacity of data and stable quality’ and that expectation is not met by the tariffs currently being advertised by mobile service providers as ‘unlimited’. The watchdog also warned that if companies refuse to comply with the order, it may alter regulations currently in force. At present, the caveats imposed by providers on unlimited plans are explained by the cellcos as traffic control measures, in line with existing rules.