Vodacom’s terms and conditions give it the right to charge more for VoIP traffic – like WhatsApp and Skype calls – on its network compared to the normal mobile data rate.
The company also lodged a tariff of R10 per MB for VoIP traffic with ICASA several years ago.
The two VoIP clauses which Vodacom subscribers agree to when using the operator’s service are:
Vodacom reserves the right to charge for VoIP data calls on selected price plans at applicable rates.
Vodacom reserves the right to charge a differentiated data usage rate for any voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) traffic on any of its data bearers as amended from time to time.
Vodacom explained that VoIP data calls are currently charged at normal data rates rather than standard voice rates.
Through these terms and conditions, however, Vodacom “reserves the right to change this should we deem it appropriate from a business perspective”.
Vodacom made it clear that it currently has no plans to change what it has in place regarding VoIP traffic.
“Customers who use over the top (OTT) voice services (such as WhatsApp and Skype) on our data network are charged at data rates rather than voice rates,” Vodacom said.
“Naturally, in the normal course of business, we will ensure any tariff change of this nature would be widely communicated to customers.”
How much WhatsApp calls will cost at R10 per MB
In June, MyBroadband tested the data use of WhatsApp calling on two Samsung Galaxy S9 phones.
Both the caller and recipient were connected using a mobile data connection, and the call was active for two minutes.
Both parties spoke throughout the call to mirror a standard calling experience, and the data for the test period was recorded.
The test showed that a two-minute WhatsApp call uses 800KB of mobile data, which equates to 400KB per minute.
It is important to note that both the caller and receiver incur data charges when making voice calls using WhatsApp.
- At R10 per MB, a WhatsApp call will cost R4 per minute.
This is much higher than any standard mobile voice rate in South Africa.