Mobile phone providers need to decide what unlimited calling actually means and explain it to customers before they take their money.

I was amazed to read about the Auckland truck driver who received a text message from his provider, 2degrees, telling him to halve his call time.

As far as trucker Mike Oliver was aware he had paid for unlimited use of his mobile, so could talk and text until the cows came home.

And fair enough. According to the dictionary, unlimited means not limited in terms of number, quantity or extent.


But according to a 2degrees spokesperson Mr Oliver rang to query the text, the unlimited calling plan was subject to a Fair Use policy.

What on earth is a Fair Use policy and who decides just how much use is fair?

Who monitors it?

These days phone users have lots of choice when it comes to providers and with more and more people turning away from landlines and using mobiles, providers need to be clear about what they are selling.

On its website it says "use must be fair and reasonable and not excessive as reasonably determined by us by reference to average and/or estimated typical usage of the services".
What is average use, though? My average use would certainly not be the average use of, say, a teenager who is glued to the phone.

Surely if they run on averages, the low-average users would make up for the high-average users. If not, then it's the provider's loss, not the customer who has been sold a service of unlimited use.