As the so bad-its-funny fictional band The Zits bellowed in the quaint, simplistic old days of the 1980s back when cell phones were the size of a brick and domain of lawyers and stockbrokers, ‘everybody wants something’.

What is more, most of us would like this nebulous, hypothetical ‘something’ to come for free. At least as indicated by the increasingly goofy and meaningless ‘information wants to be free’ ethos of media pirates and computer crackers.

The latter may have more of a point, their definition of ‘free’ generally seeming to be in more of the liberty sense than an economic one. Which is actually a fairly dandy segue into the topic at hand for, despite age old warnings that, to quote the Bard of Avalon ‘nothing comes of nothing’, an increasing number of communications carriers seem more willing than ever to gamble on what claim to be ‘unlimited plans’.

Are Unlimited data plans worth it?

Unlimited data plans

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Which begs the question as to whether ‘unlimited’ service plans have actually bucked the long history of nothing actually being free, a cost always being drawn whether it be financially or psychologically, ushering in a new Utopian age of cost free, guilt free, wide-ranging  communications service unlike anything the world has ever seen?

Not unlike the master plan of the villain in the film Kingsmen. Or is it, hear me out now, the newest form of the subtle, legalized form of fraud and skulduggery utilized by communications company since the formation of the Bell corporation?

The meat of the matter 

Strange as it may sound to those with no established schema for it, an ‘unlimited’ plan, as according to the press material, is, or is meant to be, exactly what it sounds like.

A flat rate for Unlimited data plans use of one’s call, text and data functions on one’s ‘smartphone’. This wondrous vision of a perfect society. Gaining popularity on both sides of the Border, that is the Northern boarder not the other one, companies ranging from Rogers and Shaw, the two main carriers  in the Great White North, and an increasing number in the United States of America including ancient category giants AT&T and Sprint.

The struggles

Unlimited data plans

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All is not sweet in the field however. Issues of pricing and billing Unlimited data plans soon came up.

One of the worst offenders in the latter case being Rogers. They will pull all the hard sell tactics known to wagon hucksters and carnies from time immemorial, swearing on their mother’s grave you can cancel at anytime and the price is fixed.

Except that they do not tell you how to pay. And unless you figure it out and pay them, they will cut off your service, whether the lack of payment is your fault or not, inmost cases not, and begin to demand ‘their money’ to the point of risking credit-rating ruination.

Similar troubles have arisen with Sprint’s Unlimited data plans, the price on the ‘unlimited’ plan turning out to be a promotion.

Trying new Data formulas

Going much higher at the end of the trial period that they failed to mention was a trial period. These sort of issues a key plank in the resistance of Verizon’s long-standing resistance to what is shaping up to be a price fraud trend, looking away an whistling whenever the ‘unlimited’ plan bandwagon has passed their way.

There is a slowly increasing number of companies trying out ‘unlimited’ plans but it is hardly a surge and given the track record, those who do, do so at their peril.

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Trevor McNeil spent much of his childhood playing video-games on early-form personal computers back when the disks were literally floppy. He attended the University of Victoria, completing a degree in Social Science with a concentration in Technology In Society, while also writing for the campus newspaper. He has written articles for such diverse publications as Humanity Death Watch, PopMatters and Perfect Sound Forever. He is a veteran of numerous “watershed moments” in the history of technological development and firmly believes that Han shot first.