Bye bye BIS

BlackBerry 10 will not include a unique data proposition common to all networks in South Africa

By - February 21, 2013
BlackBerry symbol

Both Vodacom and MTN have revealed that the unlimited data service that had become a hallmark of BlackBerry devices in South Africa (BIS) will not be offered with the BlackBerry Z10 on their respective networks.

Details of Vodacom’s new contract packages for the BlackBerry Z10 recently emerged, revealing that the network operator will not be offering any form of unlimited data plan with the device.

The same is true of MTN, who also announced BlackBerry Z10 contract packages with a warning to customers that devices running on the new BlackBerry 10 platform will not support the existing BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) data packages.

Previously there was some industry speculation that certain BlackBerry services, particularly BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), might remain unlimited even if all other data use is capped.

Older BlackBerry devices need a subscription to BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) for features such as BBM and e-mail to work.

As added value to the subscription, which mobile networks in South Africa offered for around R60 per month, unlimited on-device Internet usage was included in the price.

Average Vodacom BIS data usage

Average Vodacom BIS data usage

Vodacom will only offer unlimited BBM on certain contracts until 31 May 2013, spelling the end for the unique value proposition BlackBerry has enjoyed in South Africa until now.

MTN explained that BlackBerry 10 devices will work like any other smartphone, and that customers can use normal data bundles with their new BlackBerries.

The network operator reiterated BlackBerry’s previous statement that customers will be able to use traditional BlackBerry services such as BBM through a regular data bundle.

BlackBerry 10 data packages on the other networks have yet to emerge, though 8ta has revealed its plans to launch the BlackBerry Z10 by 1 March 2013, and it is understood that Cell C is aiming for the same launch date.

BlackBerry 10 partial screenshot showing active BlackBerry network connection in top right

BlackBerry 10 partial screenshot showing active BlackBerry network connection in top right

BlackBerry Z10 Vodacom contract prices revealed

No BlackBerry plan needed for BlackBerry 10 services

BlackBerry Z10 SA pricing revealed

Uncapped BIS in SA on life support?

New MTN BlackBerry Absolute package revealed

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