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Unli No More: The Death of Unlimited Mobile Data in the Philippines

Updated on December 11, 2015

For many years, Filipino internet users had enjoyed accessing online through unlimited data services offered by telecommunication companies in the country. Although some of its users were complaining about how these ISP’s managed to call their service as unlimited when it’s really not.

As for my own experience, I had been subscribing one of these networks for 3 years. It was way back in 2012 that I am subscribed to their internet (dsl plan). I never had a problem regarding the speed since I was enjoying a very fast speed at that time. Until after a year I experienced different problems; very slow internet connection, poor customer service representative and etc. I can’t even log in to my social media accounts, I can research on my assignments and it says loading – its loading forever.

From dsl, my internet service provider encouraged us to try WIMAX. Since at that time I was not aware of anything about the internet, we agreed into it. But still I experienced those problems until I decided to change my ISP. The funny thing is that my ISP customer representative kept on calling us (on my mobile phone) that if we will cut our internet connection then we will pay for the remaining contract. This is what we are afraid of – paying for our contract.

I’d be calling myself an idiot if I had pay for nothing. So, I never pay them. Why? I only sign a 1 year contract with them. And I have a copy of that contract, they can’t fake my signature. Second, my contract ended two months before I asked them to permanently disconnect my internet connection.

Why I am telling this to you? The problems that mobile internet users experienced are also experience by other subscribers who are subscribed to home plan. There is no difference. Although there is no more unlimited internet services offer to postpaid subscribers but prepaid and home plan still have unlimited internet. Don’t get me wrong, you signed a home plan contract to your ISP saying its unlimited internet but actually it has a daily/monthly limit. You had registered your prepaid number into unlisurf but it has actually a daily/monthly limit. Even in the previous years that we think its unlimited internet service but actually it has never been an unlimited service. Why we never know about it? It’s because we sometimes forget to read what is written on the contract that we signed – in our contract we can find fair usage policy.

Does it mean that ISP’s deceive us? Well, I can’t tell that and it’s you who will decide on that answer. What about me? Well, I should accept that I was deceive by my ISP but because I am not aware of anything and I don’t have the knowledge about it.

Through this hub, let’s talk about the death of unlimited mobile internet of postpaid users versus the mobile data plan that internet service provider’s offer to us.


So what's next?

“Unlimited is not limited. But no more unlimited mobile data internet data offered."

Why unlimited data mobile data in the country ended? If it’s your first time to hear about it then I must clarify it first.

Actually I never knew that unlimited mobile data for postpaid users ended already. It just happens that I was conducting a research then I talked to this person who asked me if I’m updated about my topic (sadly I was only relying on the informations I get from the internet). He was the one who told me that internet service providers offer no more unlimited mobile data instead it is based on data usage. This only means that your access online is based on your data plan. In addition, you are now limited and it depends on what plan you choose. And if you reach on your monthly data limit, you can still browse the internet - but save money for additional charges on your bill.



Why it should concern you?

I am also asking this question if why it should concern me. Why I should bother myself about this issue?

  • You belong to the million internet users of the Philippines. You are active on social media. You have your job online.
  • Gone the days that you had enjoyed the unlimited internet service. You can watch movies and make downloads without any limit.
  • You had never paid additional charges on your account. But now, whenever you reach your monthly limit expect additional charges.
  • Limited internet is costly!


Issues Regarding on Unlimited Internet Services

1. DOJ to telcos: Unlimited means unlimited
The Department of Justice warned telcos in the country about their misleading and deceptive advertisements. DOJ tell telcos that unlimited means unlimited and no bandwidth capping or bandwidth throttling.

DOJ calls the “fair use policy” (FUP) imposed by Internet service providers (ISPs) on subscribers “ inconsistent” with provisions of the Consumer Act, which penalizes deceptive packaging and misleading trade practices and advertisements.

2. Globe, Smart depend ‘unlimited’ data cap
After all the complaints regarding on the data capping that is being implemented by Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, top executives from the mobile operators have defended in classifying as “unlimited” their postpaid LTE plans.

“It’s more of a marketing issue and not legal one. Because it was always there in the contract, they (customers) signed with us that FUP will apply. We weren’t specific about the FUP, but it has to do with capping on a certain level of usage. It’s always been there,” Globe CEO and President Ernest Cu explained.

-We can say that the telecommunication companies in the Philippines deceive us regarding unlimited internet services but we as subscribers, internet users should be careful and read everything that is written on the contract before we signed it. It is clear that telcos weren’t specific about the FUP but we should ask them about it. We as costumers have the right to ask them regarding this issue.

The Fair Usage Policy had been a topic between subscribers since it was imposed. But the saddest fact is that not all of us are aware of it. We question this and that but we honestly know nothing about it.

3. Philippines has slowest, poorest mobile LTE connection
A study based on data from the 6 million users of OpenSignal Inc. named Philippines as the country in the whole world with the slowest connection and poorest coverage of LTE. According to the February 2014 report by OpenSignal Inc. entitled “State of the LTE” that among the 16 countries surveyed, the Philippines has the slowest LTE or Long Term Evolution connection with 5.3 Mbps (megabits per second).

Globe Telecom and Smart Communications have one of the poorest coverage and slowest connection of LTE in the survey. In addition, the study described Globe Philippines as the “worst performing network”.

- If the country has the poorest and slowest internet connection in the whole world then how can they continue to provide their subscribers with unlimited data services?


What is Fair Usage Policy?

Many internet users in the Philippines don’t have the idea of what is FUP all about. I had asked my friends about it but they don’t know either. I also asked users who always complain about their internet but it’s also – a NO.

But when I asked them if they experience slow internet connection, additional charges on their monthly bill, the answer is – YES. Now the real problem is that some of the internet users in the country are not aware of the FUP. Some of them just signed the contract between them and their ISPs without even asking a single question.

A Fair Usage Policy is a policy imposed by telecommunication companies on both prepaid and postpaid plan in the country. If you read the FUP of each telcos, you’ll find out about why you have a very slow connection or why you pay additional charges. It is stated in each FUP the terms and conditions between you and your ISP’s. This only means that the time that we were subscribed to unlimited internet does not actually entitled us to enjoy unlimited service.

But why telcos removed unlimited internet from its postpaid users and some of unlisurf from its prepaid service?

I guess it is because of the huge number of complaints they received from its users. After removing unli service, a user can now enjoy accessing online by registering to different mobile data plans. Mobile data plans means you are limited depending on what type of plan you choose or how many GB is your monthly limit.

Some of my friends who are postpaid user until now said that their internet connections are good and they are satisfied with the service. Their only complain is about the additional charges on their bills.


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