For the past few days, I’ve been seeing a number of friends posting complaints about Globe’s data cap for mobile internet. We’ve also received a number of messages on our Facebook page inquiring about Globe’s data cap or Fair Use Policy, as well as SMART’s.
But why are we really frustrated? What is data capping and why do these networks have fair use policies in the first place?
Before mobile internet was mainstream, back in the days when we proud ourselves as being the SMS capital of the world, unlimited service was actually ‘unlimited’. Say, in the case of unlimited text service, one can basically send SMS all they want (without making huge impact on network traffic). Well, large scale SMS clogs the network at times, especially during Christmas and New Year, but that is a different story.
For home and mobile internet, bandwidth is a shared resource. Being that, users who excessively use peer-to-peer applications like BitTorrent to download movies, music or files and those who frequent on video and music streaming sites affect the internet usage/performance of other subscribers. This is the main reason why networks have fair use policies in place – to limit the maximum amount of data being used by its users, in turn discourage network abuse and provide equal opportunity for its users to enjoy quality internet.
Globe vs. SMART Fair Usage Policy / Data Cap for Mobile Internet
|Globe||Prepaid Promos 800MB
Postpaid 1 GB
Tattoo sticks 800MB (prepaid), 1GB (postpaid)
Looking at the two major networks, Globe has a consumable 1 GB data for a day or 3 GB for a month before it implements it data cap while SMART has a limit of 1.5 GB (daily or monthly). SMART’s Fair Use Policy applies to its mobile internet service but does not include its Value-Added Services (VAS) such as push email, messaging, BlackBerry service and International data charges. Globe on the other hand implements its data cap to all its surfing promos and data plans for Globe postpaid and Tattoo Lifestyle Sticks, except PowerSurf and those who use mobile internet on regular browsing rates of Php 5 per 15 minutes.
So, what happens when you’ve exceeded your mobile data limit? The networks downgrade your connection from LTE, HSPA+ or 3G to 2G. In a sense, that still makes the service ‘unlimited’, but you get to make do of the lower browsing speed.
Data capping and fair usage policy is nothing new. In fact, even networks abroad are implementing the same. Maybe what gets us really frustrated is the word ‘unlimited’ when user’s unlimited data plans are actually limited and regulated. Browsing our local providers’ websites, most unlimited data plans do not mention the monthly quota. Perhaps they need to start including it on their websites to avoid confusions.