Portugal’s telecoms regulator, the Autoridade Nacional de Comunicacoes (ANACOM), has ruled that telecoms operators may not describe internet, voice and SMS tariff plans as ‘unlimited’ if restrictions or limits of any kind apply to the consumer. The watchdog said the ruling is aimed at protecting consumer rights and ensuring greater transparency in the sector. Under the new rules, operators may only use the term ‘unlimited’ (or any other expression that leads consumers to such a conclusion) in reference to data traffic, voice calls or SMS if the tariff plans in question are effectively without limits or restrictions throughout the duration of the customer’s contract period. Service providers should refrain from describing offers as having ‘unlimited traffic’ or ‘unlimited calls/SMS’ where any restrictions on use are imposed when certain limits are reached, except where restrictions result from exceptional circumstances under the terms of the law (such as to prevent severe network congestion). Operators are, however, required to provide clear and transparent information in their terms and conditions on any measures that may be employed to restrict traffic on an exceptional basis. ANACOM has given telecoms operators 90 days to amend their communication media, procedures and contractual documents in line with the regulator’s decision.
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