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Thread: Discrimatory practices in the SA cellular industry?

  1. #1
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    Question Discrimatory practices in the SA cellular industry?

    As a matter of interest and well, it's beginning to bug me more no end too,. It's goes like this. I am at this time a Vodacom prepaid and depend for much of my communication needs on sms and data because of disability reasons i.e. deafness which makes any prepaid voice about as useful to me as it would to a bunch of astronauts stranded on Mars. Now every time I recharge I then have to further buy a data or sms package from "Talk " points and Vodacom will then give me 60 mins free talk time after hours. Yeah After hours but STILL its TALK time and...I can't use this. Sometimes they even credit my account with small amounts of airtime- but not enough to convert to sms or data. You know the type "your account has been credited R20. Thank you for using Vodacom or some such. Even their point system takes a Jurassic age to reach any level of redeemable points for sms or airtime bundles.
    My point being other cell companies run similiar modus operandi. Cell C comes to mind on the free night talk model above.
    I recently queried Vodacom on whether they thought this practice of only offering free airtime (no sms, no data) possibly discrimatory and they answered quite quickly in that my query has been "escalated" . Yup it's always "escalated" but to where only god knows. Then you never read anything again from them.
    Some might say why don't I move to another cell company. Well I could get a better data deal with 8ta but they don't offer coverage in my area, but in the end the main query I have is there a case to make that the cell phone companies by their very practices generally exclude deaf people by making no provision for them and is this a discrimatory practice? I, for example would like to be able to get sms time or data time whenever the company awards "airtime"
    and I would really like the data packages that are offered to contract customers to be offered to prepaid. Vodacoms latest 1G and 2 G promo comes to mind. I don't know if these will be made available to prepaid.
    What do the rest of you think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hosehead View Post
    I would really like the data packages that are offered to contract customers to be offered to prepaid. Vodacoms latest 1G and 2 G promo comes to mind. I don't know if these will be made available to prepaid.
    What do the rest of you think?
    Specifically on this point, currently the contract and prepaid systems run on completely different architecture and as such they havent been able to extend the same promo's across both platforms due to system constraints.

    This should change in May / June when Vodacom aims to migrate both systems onto the same platform.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cellucity View Post
    Specifically on this point, currently the contract and prepaid systems run on completely different architecture and as such they havent been able to extend the same promo's across both platforms due to system constraints.

    This should change in May / June when Vodacom aims to migrate both systems onto the same platform.
    These dates are very interesting.

  4. #4

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    Why not go for a TopUp Contract? That way you choose how to spend the money given each month since you can buy data and/or SMS bundles with it.

    I really wouldn't call it discriminatory though that they mainly always offer extra voice minutes...a cellphone originally after all was used for calling people...so what people would most have wanted would be extra minutes, it's only recently that data has become far more prevalent and the only reason SMS used to be used is because it was cheaper...not so deaf people also had a way to communicate.
    Also when you look at the charges for the ways you can use all the options of your phone voice is usually at the top so they're effectively giving you free bits of their best service....that's hardly discriminatory, it's not their fault you can't use it.
    Last edited by SCHUMI-4-EVA; 29-02-2012 at 02:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCHUMI-4-EVA View Post
    Why not go for a TopUp Contract?
    Because some of us dislike contracts.


    That way you choose how to spend the money given each month since you can buy data and/or SMS bundles with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by SCHUMI-4-EVA View Post
    I really wouldn't call it discriminatory though that they mainly always offer extra voice minutes...a cellphone originally after all was used for calling people...so what people would most have wanted would be extra minutes, it's only recently that data has become far more prevalent and the only reason SMS used to be used is because it was cheaper...not so deaf people also had a way to communicate.
    We had pagers before the first mobiles in 1994. Both deaf and hearing people used these. These were text driven. Sure a cellphone traditionally was invented for calling people and logically people expect call time and data has always been cheap for the providers- sms profits are obscene and they have been more affordable as they have been bundled but you are looking at the past. The way we use communications has evolved rapidly Now we are looking at achieving equality or should I say equal access in communications.

    If a company is offering more advantage in voice comms at a better price which through no fault of their own deaf people cannot take advantage of then that surely is discrimination? Maybe then the company concerned should offer an alternative accessible product in sms/text/internet?

    Quote Originally Posted by SCHUMI-4-EVA View Post
    Also when you look at the charges for the ways you can use all the options of your phone voice is usually at the top so they're effectively giving you free bits of their best service....that's hardly discriminatory, it's not their fault you can't use it.
    Well thats a good point because in effect deaf people because they can't use most voice services on the latest smartphones - (and that includes downloads of music, etc) have to pay a premium on something they cannot use which in this case is a piece of hardware that normally comes with a contract otherwise its unaffordable.
    No its not our fault we can't use such things but why should we be penalised? we should be afforded some subsidy or encouraged to use services we can use
    Problem is in this country we have a long way to go to achieve communication equality.

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    Vodacom have tried to meet the needs of visually impaired clients by utilizing Nokia handsets preloaded with the Talks software to enable them to use their handsets more effectively and easily. I will not say that I understand the needs of a blind and or deaf person, as that would presumptuous and frankly, a lie. Perhaps if you could details a bit further you experiences and needs to someone like VodacomData he could pass it along to the product development guys for feasibility study etc. Who knows....something positive could come of it.

    As for meeting the needs of prepaid customers. Vodacom have run prepaid promo's and are still doing so. As a example, we are still running the special where you buy a prepaid modem for R399.00 and you get 100.00 megs of data per month for 12 months. Yes, it may not sound like a lot of data...but keep in mind that you are basically buying the modem at cost (no mark up) and you getting 100 megs gratis per month for 12 months free. Yesterday, we ran a promo for leap year day where Top Up clients who recharged with R29.00 voucher or more got R29.00 gratis (limited to one free R29.00 per client). Yes, it may not be prepaid as it is on a Top Up contract...but that is the beauty of a Top Up contract....you get almost your entire subs back as airtime, plus a handset (dependant on deals at the time) and the airtime you get on a monthly basis you can buy data bundles and use it for voice....the choice is yours to make.

    R29.00 could potentially be used to buy a MyMeg 30 bundle @ R25.00

    Top Up contracts also come in a wide variety of sizes...from as low as R49 per month....alll the way up to R1000.00 per month.

    Please dont understand me wrong...but also please keep in mind that the systems and billing systems within those systems are very complex when a company needs to keep record of usage etc for ... what is it now....lets say 20 million customers. To customise, adapt and put new business rules etc into such a system to cater to a very specific group of disabled people is very likely not as easy as one might think. How do you target that specific group? How do you authenticate their disability as this could be a Pandora's box on it own and could very well cause even greater offence?

    Vodacom prepaid customers are also rewarded via the Talking Points program, where you are allocated points per recharge depending on the recharge amount. Once enough points have been accumulated, it can be redeemed for bundles or even handsets.

    http://www.vodacom.co.za/personal/ma...ttalkingpoints

    I do hope that within the current Vodacom prepaid and Top Up (Hybrid) product range there is some way that your needs can be met right now.
    Last edited by Ockie; 01-03-2012 at 10:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hosehead View Post
    Because some of us dislike contracts.


    That way you choose how to spend the money given each month since you can buy data and/or SMS bundles with it.


    We had pagers before the first mobiles in 1994. Both deaf and hearing people used these. These were text driven. Sure a cellphone traditionally was invented for calling people and logically people expect call time and data has always been cheap for the providers- sms profits are obscene and they have been more affordable as they have been bundled but you are looking at the past. The way we use communications has evolved rapidly Now we are looking at achieving equality or should I say equal access in communications.

    If a company is offering more advantage in voice comms at a better price which through no fault of their own deaf people cannot take advantage of then that surely is discrimination? Maybe then the company concerned should offer an alternative accessible product in sms/text/internet?



    Well thats a good point because in effect deaf people because they can't use most voice services on the latest smartphones - (and that includes downloads of music, etc) have to pay a premium on something they cannot use which in this case is a piece of hardware that normally comes with a contract otherwise its unaffordable.
    No its not our fault we can't use such things but why should we be penalised? we should be afforded some subsidy or encouraged to use services we can use
    Problem is in this country we have a long way to go to achieve communication equality.
    And I'm sure if you lost both your legs then car makers all around the world would also be discriminating against you for only making cars with pedals....no equality for legless people, shame on them.

    Perhaps if you'd argued simple inadequacy in changing times I wouldn't be so hostile against you but you argued discrimination. So what you're saying is cellphone companies have intentionally screwed over disabled people just because they bloody well can and couldn't care less about you which is plain not true. They are rewards, not entitlements, they don't have to give you a damn thing extra but they choose to and it's not their fault that you can't use it.

    Is it perhaps inadequate to only offer voice rewards when data usage has become far more prevalent? Yes that could well be. And a change might be nice. But are they screwing you over? Hell No.

    You're like those retards back in school who used to pull dumb crap and then when you shouted at them immediately asked "Is it became I'm black/indian?" and then accused you of racism. I hated those kids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCHUMI-4-EVA View Post
    And I'm sure if you lost both your legs then car makers all around the world would also be discriminating against you for only making cars with pedals....no equality for legless people, shame on them.

    Perhaps if you'd argued simple inadequacy in changing times I wouldn't be so hostile against you but you argued discrimination. So what you're saying is cellphone companies have intentionally screwed over disabled people just because they bloody well can and couldn't care less about you which is plain not true. They are rewards, not entitlements, they don't have to give you a damn thing extra but they choose to and it's not their fault that you can't use it.

    Is it perhaps inadequate to only offer voice rewards when data usage has become far more prevalent? Yes that could well be. And a change might be nice. But are they screwing you over? Hell No.

    You're like those retards back in school who used to pull dumb crap and then when you shouted at them immediately asked "Is it became I'm black/indian?" and then accused you of racism. I hated those kids.

    We, as consumers are all being screwed over by the communications industry whether we are differently abled or not. It's just a matter of degree. Are the cellular companies discriminating? I don't know. Are they doing anything about it ? I don't know either. its an open ended question but if I keep getting products I cannot use despite paying the same amount of money as a person who can use them and it happens every recharge, it does get more than annoying to get that "left out " feeling. Take competitions for example where you need to listen to a recording or where you need to act by using a voice line- a deaf person can't, therefore is excluded from the competition. Is that discrimination. Well damn right it is. By no means are the cell companies the only entities to fail to address the needs of the deaf population but Telkom is very much at fault as well. In the UK and the US there's all sorts of subsidy and rebates and best of all there are relay services eg Captel. which allow deaf people not to feel marginalised should they choose to use such relay services.
    Back to the contract vs prepaid, Top up or not some people just don't want contracts. I personally don't but my reasons are not related to the topic under discussion. I was billed and not refunded some R10,000 by a cellular company because their own systems failed to block calls once a certain contractual threshold had been met.

    Unfortunately for me it was an ex wife's phone but in my name.

    Finally the losing legs analogy doesn't hold water because the car manufacturers have allowed their cars to be adapted for the disabled.

    Thanks Ockie. Ja I must have an Indaba with Jannie one of these days.
    Last edited by Hosehead; 03-03-2012 at 08:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCHUMI-4-EVA View Post
    And I'm sure if you lost both your legs then car makers all around the world would also be discriminating against you for only making cars with pedals....no equality for legless people, shame on them.

    Perhaps if you'd argued simple inadequacy in changing times I wouldn't be so hostile against you but you argued discrimination. So what you're saying is cellphone companies have intentionally screwed over disabled people just because they bloody well can and couldn't care less about you which is plain not true. They are rewards, not entitlements, they don't have to give you a damn thing extra but they choose to and it's not their fault that you can't use it.

    Is it perhaps inadequate to only offer voice rewards when data usage has become far more prevalent? Yes that could well be. And a change might be nice. But are they screwing you over? Hell No.

    You're like those retards back in school who used to pull dumb crap and then when you shouted at them immediately asked "Is it became I'm black/indian?" and then accused you of racism. I hated those kids.

    We, as consumers are all being screwed over by the communications industry whether we are differently abled or not. It's just a matter of degree. Are the cellular companies discriminating? I don't know. Are they doing anything about it ? I don't know either. its an open ended question but if I keep getting products I cannot use despite paying the same amount of money as a person who can use them and it happens every recharge, it does get more than annoying to get that "left out " feeling. Take competitions for example where you need to listen to a recording or where you need to act by using a voice line- a deaf person can't, therefore is excluded from the competition. Is that discrimination. Well damn right it is. By no means are the cell companies the only entities to fail to address the needs of the deaf population but Telkom is very much at fault as well. In the UK and the US there's all sorts of subsidy and rebates and best of all there are relay services eg Captel. which allow deaf people not to feel marginalised should they choose to use such relay services.
    Back to the contract vs prepaid, Top up or not some people just don't want contracts. I personally don't but my reasons are not related to the topic under discussion. I was billed and not refunded some R10,000 by a cellular company because their own systems failed to block calls once a certain contractual threshold had been met.
    Unfortunately for me it was an ex wife's phone but in my name.

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