Vodafone doesn’t fear fallout from Telstra ‘unlimited’ ruling

Vodafone ads contain details on unlimited plans’ caveats, telco says

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Vodafone has indicated that it doesn’t expect any impact from a Federal Court ruling that a Telstra advertising campaign had the potential to mislead consumers.

A Federal Court judge this morning ruled that Telstra must withdraw its ads, which didn’t make reference to a specific product or service but stated: “One word from Australia's best mobile network. Unlimited.”

The action was brought by Optus.

Justice Gleeson found that the Telstra ads “falsely convey the representation that Telstra offers a mobile product or service that is unlimited in the sense that Telstra imposes no limitations on” the “speed at which data can be downloaded”, “the volume of data that can be downloaded at unrestricted speeds”, and the “user’s ability to download data without interruption or delay”.

Telstra “has engaged in and is engaging in conduct that is misleading or deceptive and likely to mislead or deceive in contravention” of the Australian Consumer Law, Justice Gleeson found.

The Telstra ad campaign launched alongside an “endless data” plan that offers consumers a monthly full-speed data quota of 40GB, followed by unlimited data throttled at 1.5Mbps.

The Telstra plan launched at the start of May — as did a series of Vodafone plans offering unlimited data.

Vodafone offers $60, $80 and $100 monthly ‘unlimited’ plans that cap speeds at 1.5Mbps after 40GB, 70GB and 120GB, respectively.

“Vodafone complies with all relevant advertising codes and initiatives to ensure our advertising contains the appropriate information so customers understand what we are offering,” a Vodafone spokesperson told Computerworld.

“We have gone above and beyond to ensure that Vodafone’s advertising of Unlimited plans is as clear as possible and the terms and conditions are clearly brought to customers’ attention. This is supported by clear terms and conditions communicated across our advertising, website, retail stores, and customer care team.”

The Telstra advertising campaign did not make reference to a specific offer but Justice Gleeson found the campaign was “designed primarily to drive interest in [the ‘endless data’] plan.”

The Vodafone spokesperson said that the judgement in Optus v Telstra “appears to be in relation to a very different situation in which the details of the offer were not brought to the customers’ attention. “

“Relevant details of our unlimited data plans are included prominently in our advertising and marketing materials,” the spokesperson said.

“We also provide a range of platforms for our customers to get full terms and conditions for all our plans and services, including our website, our customer care line, and our in-store staff.”

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