MTN Unlimited 5G – Throttling and fair usage rules explained

MTN recently launched its 5G network in South Africa, which includes contracts on a range of 5G smartphones and devices.

MTN’s 5G offering is divided into two main categories – MTN 5G Wi-Fi and MTN 5G mobile.

One of the products available under its Wi-Fi selection is a 5G Unlimited Data plan, which offers uncapped data on a 24- or 36-month contract.

The package is available at R1,249 per month over 24 months or R999 per month over 36 months, paired with either a Huawei CPE Pro 2 or ZTE MC801A 5G router.

MTN promises average download speeds of 100Mbps and maximum speeds of 500Mbps on its 5G Wi-Fi packages.

This may be attractive to demanding Internet users without access to fibre and who are seeking fast download speeds.

It comes with a significant caveat, however, namely a 400GB fair usage policy (FUP) which will throttle your speed if you consume data up to this threshold.

5G fair usage policy explained

MTN explained that the Unlimited Data plan’s 400GB FUP is split into 200GB anytime and 200GB Night Express data.

The 200GB Night Express data can only be used between 00:00 and 05:00 in the morning.

Once the 200GB anytime fair use cap has been reached, the connection will be throttled to a speed of 1Mbps.

If, however, the customer has Night Express data available, the achievable 5G speeds will still be applicable during the indicated morning hours.

The Night Express data, however, has a 200GB hard cap, which means customers who have consumed all this data will have to buy additional data to continue enjoying those speeds during this time period.

Should they not reload with Night Express data, the connection falls over to the user’s anytime data.

The throttling will be lifted when the customer receives their next monthly inclusive data allocation, MTN noted.

Carry-over and Data Share are not applicable to the Unlimited data plan, which means that the Night Express Data will expire after each month and cannot be shared with other users.

In addition, no data usage notifications will be sent to customers on the Unlimited data plan.

Use of “unlimited”

The Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) previously said that while it is accepted that certain uncapped products may have limitations, which could include a FUP that throttles the speed of data delivery, the use of the term “unlimited” suggests no limitations should be expected.

“While [the ARB] accepts that consumers may grow to understand certain jargon (such as ‘uncapped’), the word ‘unlimited’ is not jargon. It is an ordinary word with an absolutely clear meaning,” the ARB previously stated.

Rain also uses the word “unlimited” to describe its 5G standard package, which is throttled at 30Mbps, and its 24/7 uncapped 4G package, which is throttled at 10Mbps.

The company has defended the use of the term in its product names, as it said it clearly states the limits of its products.

“We are very clear in our advertising and selling process on the website on what we offer,” Rain CEO Willem Roos previously told MyBroadband.

“It is thus not hidden in some fine-print T&Cs page, but clearly part of the ‘headline’ when purchasing the product,” said Roos.

“Customers elect to subscribe to a service at a specific performance level and within the limitations of this product they can consume as much data as they like,” he added.

MTN indicates that its Unlimited 5G plan has a FUP at the bottom of its 5G Product page, along with a link to the specific Terms and Conditions of this policy.

Now read: MTN 5G vs 4G – Side-by-side speed tests

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MTN Unlimited 5G – Throttling and fair usage rules explained