The Meaning of Unlimitted

About a year and a half ago, I jumped on the Apple bandwagon and got the first iPhone to support VoiceOver, the screen reader available on nearly all of their products. I really like the iPhone with VoiceOver and, as I have been evaluating Android lately, I can really see how much effort Apple put in to get the UI for people with vision impairment right.

One of the stipulations, though, was that I switch to AT&T. Previously I had been using a Windows phone on a T-Mobile handset using Mobile Speak Pocket. I was pretty happy with this phone and very happy with T-Mobile.

Alas, I had to switch and bought both the unlimited voice and data plans.

Now, if I try to download anything larger than 20 mb while attached to AT&T 3G, I get an error telling me that the file is too big and that I needed to download it using wifi or by attaching to a Macintosh. What part of the word “unlimited” implies such a limitation?

While in our car, I wanted to tether my MacBook Pro to my iPhone so I could look at the Internet as we drove. I couldn’t figure out how to do this. I called Apple technical support who politely referred me to At&T sales. I was given the option of having to give up my unlimited data package and pay even more for special tethering service. Again, what happened to unlimited? I can tether with my Android phone on Verizon without a special plan at all.

People who buy packages with a specific number of minutes can get some of the minutes back if the call is dropped. As I have unlimited talking, what do I get other than aggravation when calls drop? Recently, I have spent a couple of weeks in San Francisco, a few days in Florida and am back in Cambridge. Due to what I’m told is excessive volume, AT&T drops calls in the middle of conversations all day long in the big cities but worked well in Florida. Having to make six or more calls to complete a single conversation is infuriating but those of us with unlimited packages get nothing in terms of compensation.

So, I ask AT&T, what am I actually getting for your highest priced plans? The only thing that comes without limit is frustration.

— End

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I'm an accessibility advocate working on issues involving technology and people with print impairment. I'm a stoner, crackpot, hacker and all around decent fellow. I blog at this site and occasionally contribute to Skepchick. I'm a skeptic, atheist, humanist and all around left wing sort. You can follow this blog in your favorite RSS reader, and you can also view my Twitter profile (@gonz_blinko) and follow me there.

2 thoughts on “The Meaning of Unlimitted”

  1. Jailbreak your phone and to use tethering… There’s even a tool that will make iOS think that you are on wifi even when you are on 3G, which will solve your 20mB problem.
    Oh, and I still owe you two sandwiches…!

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