[update] Turns out it isn't quite as bad as I thought -- the pay as you go is 0,26 Eurocent or 0,0026 Euro vs 0,00099 Euro buying the extra monthly blocks. Still wish Telenet had better package options and did something about those ridiculous download limits.

Telenet consumer malpracticeTelenet is one of a few broadband internet providers here in Belgium and as such have been a customer of theirs for several years. One of the painful facts of life is that we have to deal with monthly download/upload limits and have our upload speed capped at 256Kb.

Your monthly limit depends on the package you've chosen and goes from a mere 400Mb for BasicNet (20 Euro/month or some 30 USD) to TurboNet at 35GB (61,32 Euro/month or 90 USD). I've got the ExpressNet package which means a 12GB limit at 42,92 Euro/month (63 USD).

So far so good, this month I've had the first occurrence where I went over the limit and they give you three options:

  1. continue surfing at slower speed Seems like a pretty good option but in practice this at best reaches 5kb/s and wouldn't even allow me to retrieve my email without it timing out.

  2. pay as you go This option allows you to continue surfing at full speed and you'll be charged for your additional bandwidth

  3. increase your monthly download limit With this option you can choose to add from 1 up to 95GB of extra download allowance charged monthly

Having tried the first option which was unworkable, I chose to try pay as you go -- we're half way through the month anyway, right? Now for the interesting bit, sure I expected pay as you go to be slightly more expensive than buying an extra download block but lets do a little math:

Pay as you go is charged at 0,26 Euro/MB (or 0,38 USD), in the day or so that I had this option turned on I used up 119MB which comes down to a whopping 30,94 Euro practically doubling my monthly fee. Going for option three costs you 1,02 Euro/GB (or 1,49 USD).

1,02 Euro / 1024 MB = 0,00099 Euro/MB vs 0,26 Euro/MB with pay as you go

If my math is correct what this boils down to is one option is 26100% more expensive than the other.


While it may be unethical what bothers me most is that these three options are presented as if they are equal and an unsuspecting consumer is faced with a ludicrous bill at the end of the month.

Just to illustrate, the 5GB extra monthly allowance that I ended up taking cost me 5 Euro whereas it would have been 1331 Euro (5 x 1024MB x 0,26 Euro) using pay as you go.

The whole thing seems so extreme that I hope I'm making some sort of obvious mistake in my reasoning here. If not, I definitely won't leave it at this. Test Aankoop, are you reading this?