Telus Guts Internet Usage Limits

by Jordan Richardson on December 6, 2012

Despite posting steady revenue increases across 2012 and claiming to be all “hanging on your every word,” Telus Corp. has effectively gutted its Internet usage limits with changes to take effect in 2013.

According to Telus’ website, the download and upload usage changes will see its High Speed Lite plan usage sit at 15GB per month. Its High Speed plan usage will go from 150GB per month to 100GB per month, while the High Speed Turbo plan usage will go from 250GB per month to 150GB per month. And, in the biggest cut by volume, the High Speed Turbo 25 plan usage will go from 500GB per month to 250GB per month.

Telus has also made changes to its Optik High Speed Internet usage limits.

As you can imagine, some of these changes are rather significant. The top-tier plan loses half of its usage, for instance. That’s a lot of data, yet there is no matching reduction in price to go with it.

After learning this news, I decided to contact Telus to find out why these changes took place. And on a more personal level, I wanted to know what could be done about the fact that the highest level plan my wife and I can obtain has now been reduced to 100GB per month. Thanks to living in a so-called rural area, the High Speed Turbo and High Speed 25 Turbo plans are decidedly out of reach.

Full disclosure: The following paraphrased conversations are not meant to reflect Telus’ stance as a whole. They are assumed to be the reflections of the customer service representatives of Telus about Telus’ confirmed policy. I informed the second agent (not the first because of reasons that will be obvious in a moment) that I was affiliated with TheTelecomBlog.com and would be likely writing a story about the subject using some of what she told me in the piece. She expressed no reservations and raised no objections.

My first encounter with a Telus customer service agent on this subject didn’t go so well. I asked the agent about the usage changes and told her that I wasn’t sure why these changes were going to be taking place. She first attempted to reassure me that the plans weren’t going to change until February, so I restated my question: “Why are these usage changes taking place?”

At this point, I hadn’t given the customer service agent any personal information and she hadn’t even asked for my name. Upon hearing the question again, she promptly stated that she had to “look something up” and put me on hold. After listening to four Christmas carols, the call was dropped. I’m not sure if Telus hung up on me or if other forces were at work, but I called back.

The second encounter was much better and, I’m happy to say, featured a conversation with an intelligent and honest customer service agent. After hearing my question, she said that the customer service representatives had been given a sort of statement to address these concerns. She walked through what was obviously Telus protocol on the matter. And she asked for my information first.

The agent informed me that my own personal account had not gone anywhere near the usage cap and that I wasn’t in any personal danger of going over the cap. She also asserted that Telus wasn’t applying any overage charges yet, so even going over the new lowered caps wouldn’t matter much.

The agent then went into the rationale behind the changes. To paraphrase, the changes were made because Telus customers generally weren’t going near their usage caps anyway so the company made the adjustments. Because most customers aren’t overly familiar with their usage, Telus will be including data usage information along with each bill.

I expressed some confusion at this and the agent sympathized, expressing that she, too, didn’t really know why Telus would make the usage changes (after recently raising usage limits) if it wasn’t really an issue and if overage charges weren’t in the works yet. And to lower service limits without consequently lowering plan prices? That’s another issue altogether.

So essentially, Telus has gutted many of its Internet service plans because customers weren’t going near their usage limits anyway. And they won’t be charging overage at least for the time being, according to the customer service agent I talked to. Senior communications manager Shawn Hall apparently told the Huffington Post that the changes were meant “to better manage Internet investment.”

The news will be presented on Telus bills and in emails for online customers, although the customer service agent told me that she guessed about 99 percent of customers ignored those notifications.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSSTwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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