Data is free – right?

My Dad told me that Telstra had a bit of glitch a few weeks back and took out some amazingly sized chunk of cell phone coverage for Australia.
The root cause of the problem interests me a great deal, but I just have not had time to Google Foo what actually happen (be sure and comment if you have a nice link that explains it).

To try and smooth things over with the public, Telstra opened the data floodgates and set aside a data cap free day.

Surprise… Only a ‘few’ geeks really took advantage.

To atone for a network outage last Tuesday, the operator turned its apology into a marketing stunt with the launch of “Free Mobile Data Sunday.” There were no restrictions on what could be posted, browsed, shared and streamed, allowing Telstra customers to gobble up a record 1,841 terabytes of data in 24 hours.

It wasn’t all sunshine and downloads, however, as the volume of traffic reduced speeds in some parts of Australia.

People like Reddit user DrRodneyMckay will have likely played a part in that. Telstra’s 4G plans typically offer up to 8 gigabytes of data a month but on Valentine’s Day, this customer gobbled more than 421 gigabytes.

So a few thoughts from this one.
1. I always remind others here in the States that the Internet is metered downunder. This is a foreign concept for pretty much everyone here. For the most part, we can download as much as we want can anytime we want. What is caped over here is speed.

2. The average Joe that was deeply impacted by the original outage probably did not care less about having unmetered downloads a week latter.
To him, the fact that he could not call his wife or kids when he needed to on that fateful day is more important than backing up his Steam game catalog, or downloading any TV shows that he does not watch.
My point is, for most people, data does not equal phone calls.

So, yeah, thanks Telstra, you goofed, but we have all come to rely on having a reliable mobile phone service. While data is a really big part of that, I suspect that when the crunch comes, voice is more important to most people than data… after all, data is free all the time, right?