Uncapped 3G downloaders not welcome: LucidView

The LucidView uncapped 3G “Chit-Chat” product was never aimed at users wanting to do mass downloads, whether on normal HTTP or peer-to-peer protocols.

That’s the word from a spokesperson for the company after it changed the usage policies of the product.

The company launched its uncapped mobile broadband product during September 2013, promising users that their fair use policy would not be based on historical usage, but only on the available bandwidth.

At launch, LucidView had outlined 3 bandwidth priority tiers, with media streaming, downloads, and other large file transfers sharing a priority level with voice-over-IP (VoIP).

Since then, LucidView has split streaming and large file downloads into its own priority level, along with VPNs and Skype.

At first this new fourth priority level was indicated as being much slower than those above it, but LucidView recently changed its policies again to completely disallow it.

Asked about the changes, LucidView told MyBroadband that its Chit-Chat product was not designed to be downloader-friendly, but to help people stay in contact at a fixed monthly fee.

“There are three components to this this product,” LucidView said. “The user is always connected no matter how much data they have used during the month, the price is always fixed at R199 p/m, and the package comes with R50 talk time.”

The focus is on providing reliable throughput for text communications in a variety of instant messaging applications, primarily aimed at keeping parents and children in touch, LucidView said.

Social networking sites and normal browsing are included to offer more value to the target demographic, LucidView said.

Usage is a factor for LucidView

MyBroadband has also been able to establish that LucidView’s custom APN with MTN is billed by usage, similar to other wholesale APN products in South Africa (such as the one used by Afrihost for its mobile offering).

This means that in addition to managing capacity on its network, LucidView also has to keep the data usage of its customers in mind.

If its Chit-Chat clients use more than a certain amount of data every month, the company will make a loss.

In short, LucidView tried to fit a square peg (uncapped 3G) into a round hole (usage-based wholesale APN). To make it work, they have to keep the usage of their subscribers under a certain level.

While trying something different is admirable, the outrage of early adopters that were aiming at using Chit-Chat as an entry-level data service is also understandable.

As it stands, with heavily shaped uncapped 3G and R50 airtime for R199/month, LucidView Chit-Chat is a product aimed mainly at smartphone users that want IM, some on-device browsing, and social networking.

Letter from the CEO

The following letter from LucidView CEO, Andrew Wilson, is being sent to subscribers today (Monday, 21 October 2013):

Firstly, thank you for your interest in our ChitChat product.

It has come to my attention that there has been much confusion about what this new product is all about. With that said, we at LucidView were forced to change the product policy with regards to downloads, to speed up communications, which is what the product is designed for.

Changing the policy on downloads was done after much consideration and the decision was not taken lightly, however it was necessary because a few subscribers were abusing the download capability, leaving very little bandwidth for the vast majority of the subscribers.

We are clearly working through some “teething problems” on the ChitChat product, thus we have decided to provide October 2013 free of charge, meaning payments made for October, are now credited against November 2013.

LucidView will gladly provide a full refund to anyone who is disappointed about the policy change and no longer wishes to continue with “ChitChat”, on request.

New download policy:

ChitChat’s main purpose is to allow one to communicate throughout the entire month however, we realise the importance of being able do phone downloads/updates and phone application download/updates.

We have introduced “Update Fridays” which will allow phone and phone Application downloads/updates from 2pm till 6pm. — Please see our website for details on our new policy.

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Uncapped 3G downloaders not welcome: LucidView