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'Unlimited' ads are dumb and misleading, says 3

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3's UK boss Kevin Russell UK has called for an overhaul of mobile broadband marketing, particularly misleading "unlimited" allowances.

He included 3 in the rogues' gallery, and explained that because the big boys were doing it, 3 had felt obliged to copy them. It now regretted doing so.

"As an industry our marketing standards are poor and it has led to cynicism," said Russell. "One of the dumbest things I've done is talk about 'unlimited' data or 'unlimited' anything when it's not unlimited. It's not clear, not transparent and not honest."

He naturally had a pop at Orange for its poorly-backed up claim that it had the most complete UK 3G network, and called for independent standards. Currently, operators submit their own estimates of how fantastically well they're doing at coverage.

O2 became the first to retreat from unlimited last month. iPhone data deals are now capped, and other operators, including 3, have followed suit. 3 raised its caps yesterday, doubling them across the board, and now reckons its bundles are more generous than anyone else's. It also introduced a new 2,000 minutes for £25 tariff, which includes 1GB of data.

Russell also said that with a proliferation of devices each with its own deal, there was room for consolidating a customer's various plans. Of course, the MeFi dongle does just this, allowing up to five devices to access a mobile 3G-to-WiFi router.

Three's network is now shared with T-Mobile through the jointly owned Mobile Broadband Network Ltd (MBNL). After their merger T-Mobile and Orange are now Somethingorother Everything Everywhere.

As we noted yesterday, the two parts of the merged megablob don't yet have a roaming agreement - but the Strategy Boutique consultants have been in, and there's a new logo.

Trebles all round. ®

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