I received a R1800 bill from Vodacom last month for data usage on my Blackberry. On investigation we found the culprit to be Whatsapp. I have logged a dispute with Vodacom, but we will see if they reply. Details as follows:
1. Subscriber history - No previous billing has indicated such excessive internet usage - previous bills either had no additional internet usuage or very little. ( previous 2 year contract also had BIS with no such excessive data usage). Previous 3 year history with Vodacom indicates no tendency to downloading. The phone is used for Facebook and Blackberry apps (BBM). However, due to the nature of business, we understand that Vodacom can not just "take out word" for this - hence the additional motivations below.
2. Signalling not related to streaming - Please see the attached photo of the phone. We found the high data usage to be Whatsapp (I am 100% certain you will find this info consistent with your records). As mentioned in your email, the data was "consistent with audio video streaming or phone as a modem". Your conclusion is incorrect. Furthermore:
- The "messaging/media" part of Whatsapp includes messages and attachments thereof. As can be seen in the attached screenshot, the messaging part of Whatsapp is a mere ~125mb (which we will be more than willing to pay for). However, the bulk of the data usage seems to be used by Whatsapp signalling. The CDR's that you sent us indicates no relation to the handling of the PDP contexts and the signalling involved. It is more than probable that the high data usage was caused by the Vodacom IN initiating a PDP terminate whilst Whatsapp was performing some action. The repeated PDP termination would have caused the signalling to effectively repeat and send the same data mutliple times. The high number of connections can also be an indication of the number of possible retries from the software due to insufficient release or resources by the Vodacom IN. There is no indication however, that these possible termination messages was initiated by the user handset - of which the user would have no visibility. Therefore, there is no way to place the blame on the subscriber or the subscriber handset.
3. T&C's - Your T&C's mention "Most applications developed by Research In Motion (RIM), will operate across the blackberry.net APN and therefore will not incur additional data charges." Whatsapp is listed as the 2nd top free app on Blackberry App world and is used extensively by BB users worldwide. It is difficult to believe than an app this popular will be excluded from the fair BIS usage policy - which the client at hand has always abided to. I am sure Vodacom can see the argument here that is in line with the CPA's "The right to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions".
What do you guys think? Is this unreasonable?