Vodacom’s WhatsApp voice users can continue to use the service without any concerns of being charged additional fees for VoIP calls.
Unbeknown to many Vodacom subscribers, the company previously lodged a tariff of R10 per MB for VoIP traffic with the regulator.
The company also has the following line in its terms and conditions: “Vodacom reserves the right to charge for VOIP events on selected price plans at applicable rates”.
These higher VoIP data tariffs have never been applied, and Vodacom told MyBroadband it has no plans to charge higher rates for VoIP calls.
“Vodacom has no current plans to charge for third party OTT voice services such as a WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger call,” the company said.
Further good news is that Vodacom has applied to ICASA to “de-lodge” its VoIP tariffs and expect this process to be completed imminently.
This means that there is no risk that Vodacom will charge higher rates for WhatsApp or other VoIP calls in future.
Growth in WhatsApp call traffic
VoIP calling through services like WhatsApp has grown in popularity and is starting to have a material impact on voice revenue in South Africa.
Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, and Cell C told MyBroadband that traditional voice usage has decreased in recent years, and they have had to adapt accordingly.
MTN told MyBroadband that it has experienced a decrease in traditional calls and an increase in VoIP usage to match.
It is, however, not all bad. A Cell C spokesperson told MyBroadband that while it previously suffered a decrease in traditional call minutes being used, this has now stabilised.
“This indicates that there is still a need amongst customers to communicate via making a call,” said Cell C.