Category Archives: Mobile

Unlimited talk, text and data?

This is a bit off topic for me but I wanted to post about the common usage in the mobile phone industry to tout unlimited talk, text and data.  I question the practice as it relates to data.  While unlimited in popular vernacular would seem to imply infinite, in reality we are constrained by the physical limitations of our existence.  Unlimited talk in the confines of a month means we can’t exceed 43200 minutes within a given month (except months with 31 days of course). It’s an impossibility on one phone to use more minutes that we’ve divided a month into.  Similarly with text, we are limited to the physical number of texts we can type or receive within a month.  I dare guess the number that a teenage girl could obtain but suffice to say, theoretically, I’m sure it’s pretty high. Now, I don’t know if the companies limit or monitor automated software. What if I download an app that sends out 1000 texts per minute?  Would they notice? Would they care?  Afterall, it’s unlimited, right.  Truth be told I haven’t read my contract or others but I suspect they may put the brakes on automated texting.

Now consider data.  Most, if not all plans, throttle data once you’ve reached a certain threshold.  So 4g, at least as specified, has a theoretical limit of 1Gigabit/second.  That’s about 324,000 Gigabytes per month.  However, most service providers throttle usage down to 3g or 2g once a certain amount of Gigabytes have been processed (my provider is 5 Gigs).  Now, at 2g speed, running full speed all month, the maximum could theoretically get is 61.79 Gigs.  To say that I still have “unlimited” data is a stretch by any imagination.

I’m not a trial attorney, but this is a lawsuit in the making.


Note, Ive been informed that several carriers do offer truly unlimited service (or have in the past).  I’m going based on my experience and my carrier which touts unlimited data but then throttles after 5gigs.

Mobile Privacy

The California Attorney General has released her recommendations for privacy in mobile space.  Overall, it is a fairly good set of recommendations though some groups have already criticized it.  Two notable recommendations are the integration of privacy into the design process. While not full on privacy by design or privacy engineering, it does give some advice to the mobile developer on how to think about privacy (particularly data minimization) before creating their apps.