In a world where “unlimited” seems to mean anything but, and where avoiding those ‘fair usage policy’ caps seems to get more difficult every month, it’s becoming increasingly rare to find network operators who are content to let you consume as much data as you want without being slapped with hefty penalties or crippling reductions in speed. Perhaps aware of the consumer cynicism that now accompanies “unlimited” offerings, Russian mobile network MegaFon set out to underline the all-you-can-eat nature of its mobile data service.
According to Russia’s CNews, the carrier opted to raise awareness of its unlimited data packages by inviting consumers to take part in a contest, which began on 1 November 2011, and ended last week, on 31 January. Customers who purchased one of the network’s 3G modems were encouraged to download as much data as they possibly could, with those consuming the most data in any seven day period being rewarded with prizes.
MegaFon’s Alexander Zipkin claimed that the contest helped to highlight the fact that the “digital divide” between urban and rural areas in Russia is becoming a thing of the past, emphasising that the network’s mobile data speeds of up to 21Mbps are now available to over 80% of people in MegaFon’s main geographical region. He also pointed out that those who placed second and third in the competition came from the relatively small towns of Novgorod and Yaroslavl.
According to Zipkin, the runners-up did well, but the winner of the contest just squeaked past the others, downloading a mighty 419GB over the 3G modem in just one week. The winner enjoyed an international holiday worth 150,000 RUB ($5000 USD / £3150 GBP / €3800 EUR), while prizes worth a total of 1,000,000 RUB ($33,000 USD / £21,000 GBP / €25,300 EUR) were dished out to others as part of the contest.
MegaFon is part of an exclusive elite among network operators that offer genuinely unlimited services, and this is certainly an interesting way to highlight both the unconstrained nature of its offering, and the resilience and speeds of its mobile network. Last week, T-Mobile UK announced a new range of plans offering truly unlimited data, unlimited text messaging and voice calls for a flat monthly rate.