Turns Out SpinTel’s ‘Unlimited’ Plans Did Indeed Have Limits and ACMA’s Not Happy About It

Turns Out SpinTel’s ‘Unlimited’ Plans Did Indeed Have Limits and ACMA’s Not Happy About It
Image: SpinTel/Gizmodo Australia

SpinTel has received a warning from the ACMA after it incorrectly used the term ‘unlimited’ in its advertisements.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on Wednesday afternoon said it had directed the Sydney-based telco to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) Code after an investigation determined SpinTel used ‘unlimited’ where it shouldn’t have.

The ACMA said SpinTel advertisements for its SIM-only mobile plans did not specify any limitations that applied to the telecommunications service. However, those plans operated such that when customers’ usage reached 20 times higher than the SpinTel average, their accounts would be automatically suspended. The service limit was set out in an ‘acceptable usage policy’ by SpinTel, but was not identified in SpinTel’s advertising material, the ACMA said.

The ACMA opened the investigation after receiving a complaint from a customer whose account had been suspended.

According to the ACMA, in 2021, more than 260 SpinTel customers were suspended for exceeding the service limit in its acceptable usage policy. This meant that for the duration of their billing month, these customers could receive inbound calls and make emergency calls but were prevented from making other outbound calls.

The ACMA said SpinTel has since revised its policies so that customers with high usage patterns are no longer automatically suspended. But, if SpinTel breaks the advertising rules again, the ACMA said it “has a range of enforcement actions available”, including being able to issue an infringement notice or apply to the Federal Court for an order that SpinTel pay the Commonwealth a pecuniary penalty.

“The direction to comply signals to telcos the importance of satisfying the advertising requirements in the TCP Code, particularly using the term ‘unlimited’ appropriately,” the ACMA said in a statement.