Telkom is appealing the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) ruling that its advertising for a ‘completely unlimited’ smartphone contract is misleading.

Earlier this year consumer Clayton Faulkner complained to the ASA that Telkom’s advertising claims of unlimited data, unlimited SMSes on all national networks and unlimited voice calls to South African cellular and landline networks (among others) were misleading for its smartphone packages. The ASA sided with Faulkner.

The fixed and mobile operator however is none too pleased about it, which is why it will be challenging the ruling. Under the rules of the ASA, Telkom will still be allowed to advertise the product – just not in its current form.

“Whenever a ruling is made against an advertiser, the advertiser cannot then use the advert in the form in which it was advertised until the ruling is overturned. The advertiser can continue advertising the product, but must amend the advert in compliance with the ruling until the ruling is overturned,” said Telkom’s executive for external communication, Gugulethu Maqetuka.

In return, Faulkner will be turning the tables on Telkom, as he will challenge it’s appeal.

“I won the first round against Telkom; they are now appealing and I have to now challenge their challenge. I am going to challenge them on how they [deliver] fair usage on their unlimited plan because at my estimation, 100GB per month is reasonable,” he explained.

“How did Telkom [arrive] at the idea that 15GB is considered fair usage? A mobile phone is now the computer: we use it to play games, watch movies, listen to the radio and these mobile devices connect to the TV and entertainment systems,” he said. “We communicate via FaceTime or Skype to friends and family.”

He pointed out that all of those services consume a lot of data, and by his estimation there’s no way a 15GB limit on a so-called unlimited package is thus even remotely reasonable, and he therefore wants Telkom to show how it arrived at that figure for its “Fair Usage Policy”.

The ASA measured its original judgement against clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code of Advertising Practice, and found that the “completely unlimited” part of the advertising is in contravention of that code.

It said that “…the complainant submitted that the advertising was misleading as a subscriber only receives 15GB of data per month before being throttled to an unusable speed of 128kbps. This negates the word ‘unlimited’ used in the advertising.”



Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.