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Vodacom puts Cap on Blackberry Internet Usage, Throttles more than 100MB pm (Updated)

Published by on Sep 12th, 2011, 103 Comments

Updated: Vodacom’s CEO, Pieter Uys, finally clarified this issue in a statement.

This one is short and sweet folks. You know that Blackberry you got because of uncapped data usage? This might make a few folks sour:

Vodacom studied usage patterns to better understand the causes of congestion at peak times and one surprising finding was that more than 95% of BlackBerry data usage was attributable to less than 5% of users.  Speaking about this, Delport said, “We need to ensure that all BlackBerry users are able to enjoy the service that they pay for.  When we realised that such a small minority was using the bulk of the capacity, we decided to implement measures that will ensure that Blackberry users will enjoy a better browsing experience overall.”

Steps have been taken to ensure that the 95% of the BlackBerry users who are currently using the service fairly are not impacted by those who are abusing the service.

Basically what Vodacom is proposing is that all users using more than 100MB in a month will have their service downgraded to much slower 2G speeds. That gives you 3.3 Megabytes of nice fast data per day…

Now 5% of users might not sound like much. But Twitter has been all abuzz about this announcement, and @garymeyerza put it into perspective:

One way around it – get your phone activated for Blackberry Enterprise Service. Apparently the usage cap is not yet active for it…

Maybe someone with a IT legal background can tell us if this is legal? Can Vodacom go back on its service level agreement with Blackberry users?

You can view the new amended rules of BIS service here.

PS: Some irony pointed out by @saulkza: R49 actually gets you 100MB of 3G data.

 

Updated: Keep in mind that BIS typically compresses data between 2 and 4 times, so it means actual monthly data might be between 200MB and 400MB before being throttled…

 

Comments

  • Werner Ackermann

    It’s still uncapped, just rate limited, our old ADSL friend.

  • Peterpan

    Relax! Under the consumer act, you guys will have a ball! :) Happy times!!! Vodacom in the trouble!!

  • Duna

    I am in the UK…..I
    promise you, it is the same speed as SA……I hate that “up to”
    statement.  We are definitely not 16mb here, that is BS!!

  • Barry Edwards

    If it was a 200 MB threshold I would support this “capping”.  100 MB ?!! come on guys ?!!

  • Barry Edwards

    If it was a 200 MB threshold I would support this “capping”.  100 MB ?!! come on guys ?!!

  • Bazza

    Oh good luck to them, my cellphone bill is in excess of R4000 per month, and I was advised by them to go the blackberry route, not the iphone route, due only to the fact that I am a high user – my entire business is run from my BlackBerry, if they decided to cap me, all hell would break loose, security would be removing me from their premises on a daily basis… I have also purchased BlackBerry’s for all my staff, combined billing is over R12000 per month and yes we are high-users – and as such our phone bills are higher – most likely in proportion to the usage.
    What the idiots should look at, is most likely the 5% of “naughty” users make up for as much as 30% of their phone revenue, as reps on the road need to have uncapped emails etc, but because they are on the road, they also have higher phonebills….

  • Bazza

    Oh good luck to them, my cellphone bill is in excess of R4000 per month, and I was advised by them to go the blackberry route, not the iphone route, due only to the fact that I am a high user – my entire business is run from my BlackBerry, if they decided to cap me, all hell would break loose, security would be removing me from their premises on a daily basis… I have also purchased BlackBerry’s for all my staff, combined billing is over R12000 per month and yes we are high-users – and as such our phone bills are higher – most likely in proportion to the usage.
    What the idiots should look at, is most likely the 5% of “naughty” users make up for as much as 30% of their phone revenue, as reps on the road need to have uncapped emails etc, but because they are on the road, they also have higher phonebills….

  • Quinton John

    I agree with Dominic Lee. Vodacom is essentially penalising ALL it’s BB subscribers for the few that are abusing the BIS service. Vodacom- catch a wake up. a company as massive as yours should have the resources to limit ONLY THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ABUSING THE SERVICE! i have been a loyal vodacom client for going on 9 years now, but if you are going to be the most idiotic network arounf by implimenting the 100mb cap- then i dont see why i should stay with vodacom when my contract comes up for upgrade. the biggest attraction of having a blackberry is the uncapped internet. think about your customers before you make stupid decisions. you tweeted that this will improve service? it will- but only for the first 100mb. if you go over that-you’re fucked. WAKE UP VODACOM!!!!!!!!!

  • Quinton John

    I agree with Dominic Lee. Vodacom is essentially penalising ALL it’s BB subscribers for the few that are abusing the BIS service. Vodacom- catch a wake up. a company as massive as yours should have the resources to limit ONLY THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ABUSING THE SERVICE! i have been a loyal vodacom client for going on 9 years now, but if you are going to be the most idiotic network arounf by implimenting the 100mb cap- then i dont see why i should stay with vodacom when my contract comes up for upgrade. the biggest attraction of having a blackberry is the uncapped internet. think about your customers before you make stupid decisions. you tweeted that this will improve service? it will- but only for the first 100mb. if you go over that-you’re fucked. WAKE UP VODACOM!!!!!!!!!

  • Raymondvanniekerk

    Wonder how will they get past the fact that we as consumers bought a vodacom contract under certain agreements, and according to the new consumer protection act you can return your purchase/cancel your contract if you don’t get what they had promised you at the time of purchase. I bought my BB for the unlimited internet browsing at 3G speed. If they downgrade me to 2G, I don’t get what I’ve paid for and I will cancel my contract with Vodacom.  By the way, how can one “abuse” the service if you use the product/service that you pay for and how it was agreed to on signing the contract?

  • Quinton John

    Vodacom states that 5% (yes, A MERE 5%) of vodacom BB users were abusing the service by downloading up to 310Gigs in 30 days. i agree that they could consider that as abuse bacause, if you had to work out the airtime equivillent of that download (at vodacom’s usual R2 per mb) that amounts to a whopping R620 000′s worth of revenue that vodacom doesnt receive. by all means- cap THOSE assholes, but dont punish the rest of us that use the service responsibly! i mean, like i said in my post- im sure vodacom has the resources to single out those 5%, considering they are a major corporation. they can monitor everybodies individual usage, so they should also be able to limit only certain people. and about the CPA (consumer Protection Act) Vodacom will argue that in your contracts, they stipulate that they reserve the right to change the terms of any part of their service plans. what i would suggest everyone do- read through your contracts and lets try find something to nail these bastards on

  • Brendon

    yes 8ta 3gig special @R149 much better.

  • Richard

    I will gladly switch to cell c or mtn as long as they don’t implement similar measures. It is the principal that matters, if I cant use my “unlimited internet” as it was intended, then it’s off to android for me…

  • Bradm911

    Just take this to the CPA, they will fight on behalf of the consumer…

  • Dirk

    with vodacom its once bitten twice shy. only way out. dirkvw

  • Ryan Levin22

    all you have to do is scratch out that section in the contract, sign it, get the shop manager to sign as well, so if and when vodacom decide to change anything on your contract, you may then take them to the CPA as it wasn’t what you agreed to! :)

  • Ryan Levin22

    all you have to do is scratch out that section in the contract, sign it, get the shop manager to sign as well, so if and when vodacom decide to change anything on your contract, you may then take them to the CPA as it wasn’t what you agreed to! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Hobbs/516088265 Christopher Hobbs

     they not removing the Cap they Just slowing your Speed Down to 2G, What Uses a differnt bandwith removing congestion to the faster 3G, Read the Articall Not the Title, Title Should be Changed!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Hobbs/516088265 Christopher Hobbs

     they not removing the Cap they Just slowing your Speed Down to 2G, What Uses a differnt bandwith removing congestion to the faster 3G, Read the Articall Not the Title, Title Should be Changed!

  • Ablundell

    my BB is so sh!t slow it would take longer than a month to download 100mb!!!!

  • Grim_Fandango

    I seriously can’t belive you guys are so surprised… Think back to a few years ago and remember VLive… If you thought this was gonna last forever and didn’t learn from that experience with the networks as they are you were very optimistic. Blackberries have horrible firmware as it is, and things like this will push people to (finally) realize that blackberries are the most over-rated things for a long time. I really can’t wait till people stop jumping on the bandwagon.

  • Agovender097

    Ever since I got my bb I have always had a some out of the blue problem with vodacom. What a nightmare.

    Vodacom just knows how to make our day. Keep it up and you will certainly need another colour change maybe even a new name because you might just close down.

  • YOredness

    And in the TYPICAL style of making us pay dearly for the little we already get – they want to take half away!!!!! I will so cancel my contract and let them black list me for this. How can I loose this one? Clearly they are not keeping to their contractual agreement with me hence I can break my side of the agreement – Useless fools we are all seeing RED now !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Marissa Janson

     Apart from the (previous) uncapped internet usage, why should I choose Blackberry above other smartphones?  Worst is that it does not automatically sinc with my calender /email ( server at work).  I believe iPhone offer so much more now (especially if i get the phone free)?So, please give me any reason why I should stay on Blackberry?

  • Guest

    There is no cap. It’s just downgrading the speed. Please understand the article and ignore the title.

  • Rogerf

    Vodacom has always failed. Overpriced…seems the big wigs at Vodafone are finally having an effect. Shame everyones noticing now

  • Victorlrx

    o hell no!!!! i use my blackberry for private as well for my work… theres no way in hell you gona say i am abusing the facility

  • Quinton John

    the definition of a cap is either limiting the amount of data that can be downloaded, or throttling the SPEED. so by definition- THIS IS STILL A CAP!!!!!!! and before you try and argue- speak to an IT professional. plus- it’s a permanent “downgrade” of speed- which classifies as a cap

  • Quinton John

    the definition of a cap is either limiting the amount of data that can be downloaded, or throttling the SPEED. so by definition- THIS IS STILL A CAP!!!!!!! and before you try and argue- speak to an IT professional. plus- it’s a permanent “downgrade” of speed- which classifies as a cap

  • Quinton John

    the definition of a cap is either limiting the amount of data that can be downloaded, or throttling the SPEED. so by definition- THIS IS STILL A CAP!!!!!!! and before you try and argue- speak to an IT professional. plus- it’s a permanent “downgrade” of speed- which classifies as a cap

  • Quinton John

    the definition of a cap is either limiting the amount of data that can be downloaded, or throttling the SPEED. so by definition- THIS IS STILL A CAP!!!!!!! and before you try and argue- speak to an IT professional. plus- it’s a permanent “downgrade” of speed- which classifies as a cap

  • Leon

    I agree with you Max. I am also on Talk 500 and use my phone for work and for that outrageously high subscription we have to pay they should know that it is for a legitimate reason why the usage may be high. If they want to decrease the usage, they should pass it on to pay as you go subscribers who I am sure use it only for BBM and personal email usage. I will not be renewing my contract with Vodacom.

  • Gideon

    So yo’d be ha[[y with the bicycle ride in your driveway then???

  • Guyverxt9

    Fact is, BB sucks balls.

  • Guyverxt9

    There is no reason. Blackberry is sub-standard when you compare it to iPhones, high-end Androids and WP7 phones. The future lies in those 3 OS’s, Blackberry’s suck, and most people are duped into buying that over priced brick, because of the supposed data advantages.

  • Vusi

    The reason why we bought BlackBerry is because of the uncapped usage but now if vodacom feels this is how they wish to treat us today because we made them so damn rich then we should consider legal actions and move to Cell C after we win the case,they spend too much money on other useless things instead of investing in us the customers.vodaselfish,we must remember that vodacom is the only overpriced network in SA and not offering anything that is worth the price,if u have a signal related problem the ask u to write an assignment and still respond late to the problem sies

  • Johanjjf

    If Vodacom goes through with this we will see how many customers they lose. I emailed this link to RIM (Which writes BB’s software) just now since they are not aware of this. We wil see what the outcome of this fight is gonna be ……. If vodacom does that its a breach on contract and service level agreement with RIM. The RED network is gonna become a DEAD Network for sure, I will switch over to MTN within 24hours. They are a bunch of money driven (no loyalty to there curtomers) focussesd company, its good for them to give their customers shit phone deals on contracts for which you have to pay in, that way the shareholders and CEO make more Millions a year they can spend as bonusses. Use the money to upgarde tyour networks to handle the banwith you selfish bastards !!!!!!  

  • Nimfie008

    Actually, with the new consumer protection bill, he might be able to get out of it!!

  • Nimfie008

    These days it’s so difficult to get good service ANYWHERE! I left MTN after I sent my brand new contract phone (had it 4 months) in for a faulty speaker and received an unusable phone back, with motherboard destroyed by the technical dept. MTN just refused to fix or replace the phone and I had to finish the 2 year contract without the phone I was paying for.  The letters from my lawyer was just completely ignored. So I switched over to Vodacom! Is there no proper service providers in this country anymore??!!

  • Nimfie008

    These days it’s so difficult to get good service ANYWHERE! I left MTN
    after I sent my brand new contract phone in for a faulty speaker and
    received an unusable phone back, with motherboard destroyed by the
    technical dept. MTN just refused to fix or replace the phone and I had
    to finish the 2 year contract without the phone I was paying for.  The
    letters from my lawyer was just completely ignored. So I switched over
    to Vodacom! Is there no proper service providers in this country
    anymore??!!

  • Nimfie008

    These days it’s so difficult to get good service ANYWHERE! I left MTN
    after I sent my brand new contract phone in for a faulty speaker and
    received an unusable phone back, with motherboard destroyed by the
    technical dept. MTN just refused to fix or replace the phone and I had
    to finish the 2 year contract without the phone I was paying for.  The
    letters from my lawyer was just completely ignored. So I switched over
    to Vodacom! Is there no proper service providers in this country
    anymore??!!

  • Kamaria

    No, if any changes have been made to a contract without the prior permission of any party  who agreed to it, it is null and void.

  • ashton

    The 95% are using 8520 curve phones on OS5 which can’t download anything bigger thn 6mb the rest of us with phones running OS6 are only limited by the size of our memory cards

  • ZRE

    Is Vodacom just throttling speeds to speeds similar to 2G ( EDGE) but leaving 3G open or are they disabling your 3G usage on your phone to accomplish this resulting in the inability to Video Call. ?

  • ZRE

    To add on to my comment, I think a better idea is for Vodacom to throttle speeds on certain activities only for those users and not all ( Shaping),ask the question, what are these people doing to abuse the network ? and throttle them there , instead of impacting the whole user experience.

    100mb is nothing these days , I hardly consider that abuse

  • Fiasco

    Is this not a breach of the Consumer Act?. This is essentially changing your service you are paying for. Let say your device is 3G enabled. You paying X for the service. If you bought the device to get your data uncapped at a 3G speedS then this decision is a clear breach of contract. My wife uses bLackberry and we regularly due to overseas call spend more than R4000 with vodascum. If they go ahead with this then I am going seriously have my contract declared null and void. Note to vodascum I am going to see a lawyer about this. They cannot without consulting me change the terms of a contract I signed and I am paying for. They are affecting the quality of my service(what service I ask at times). Red is a good colour for them. The colour of angry clients looking for a new telecoms provider.

  • Corsark

    I work in Ghana, but have SA links. Here Vodafone (same family) have a reasonable usage limit on Prepaid BB which is set at 2.5GB per month. Post Paid here is for corporates only so 95%+ of market is prepaid.
    The Prepaid BB package here has the following addons, which Post Paid doesnt = 100 free minutes; 50 free SMS; reasonable usage to 2.5GB of data for GHC45.00 per month (ZAR approx. R220.00)
    So if a smaller service entity within the greater Vodafone group can prevail with such sanity why not the largest on the continent.
    There is no mention of throttling here, the network just doesnt function at time, which could be another way of managing bandwidth usage! But that’s another issue altogether.
    Changing contract expectations be damned, deliver what you offer and stick to it.

  • Sm@sH

    Hi Guys, just recieved this link fromRIM regarding this matter. Case closed and well epxplained. This only applied to users downloading big ISO images, Movies etc ……. MUST READ!!!

    http://www.facebook.com/note.php?created&&note_id=10150329687177801

  • Anonymous

    Vodacom/Vodafone is making sh** because the thing I love about BlS is that I can browse and browse and browse – and BBM. I don’t think I abuse the service – not intentionally anyway. How will this affect me?

  • Lynmiccha

    hahahahaha! i rofld so lekker now! nice one!

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