Same here in Belgium. Unlimited sms are popular. In France they even have unlimited 4G plans for an affordable 18/20€'s that do include unlimited sms, I know at least 2 Belgian persons who have used such an unlimited 4G plan while on vacation there. I can imagine that it will also be quit popular over there.
About data collection: even apple does it. Why do I say Apple in particular? Since one of the most heard argument pro Apple over android or apple over windows, is that 'android phones' and 'windows' do collect, use and sell your data. But in fact, it Apple has a page about what data they collect from you, and they state that it can be shared with third parties and such. And after all their promises about how it will not be used for marketing or such, they state "Additionally, in the event of a reorganization, merger, or sale we may transfer any and all personal information we collect to the relevant third party." which is implicating that they can even sell your information after just reorganizing. So even that 'most privacy oriented' company leaves options open to sell information and distribute it for marketing and such. They just know how to formulate it so that it looks less suspicious.
At the end, they all collect your data. The digital life is about collecting data. It is a dangerous trend, but it is part of our economy so it will be hard to stop it. It can be regulated, but all privacy laws have there flaws. And even than there will always be hackers for whom your privacy doesn't count.