Summary: Vodacom’s decision to throttle the speed of BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) users who exceed 100MB of usage per month is slated online
Vodacom surprised South African cellular users today (12 September 2011) when they announced that they will throttle the speed (from 3G to 2G) of subscribers who use more than 100MB of data per month through the BlackBerry Internet Service.
Vodacom explained that 95% of BlackBerry data usage was attributable to less than 5% of users, and that they decided to implement measures that will ensure that Blackberry users will enjoy a better browsing experience overall.
Vodacom said that steps have been taken to ensure that the 95% of the BlackBerry users who are currently using the service fairly are not impacted by “those who are abusing the service”.
The feedback from Internet users about Vodacom’s decision was not kind. “What nonsense! How does using ~4MB/day constitute abuse? It’s 2011 for goodness sake!” said one commentator on MyBroadband.
Other comments included “I think Vodacom is looking to give the business away… this is just criminal”, “Anybody know how to translate FAIL in 11 South African languages?” and “Lovely, milking the poor cow even drier. Typical Vodacom”.
Twitter comments followed the same trend. These comments included “Dear @BlackBerry , @Vodacom Just Stuffed You Up” from @RomeoBeatsSA and “to everyone with a blackberry. vodacom has just bent you over like dropping the soap in a prison shower,” from well known Naspers Marketing Technologist Rafiq Phillips (@rafiq).
Numerous Vodacom BlackBerry users have also threatened to leave the cellular provider because of their new BIS usage policy.
One of the main concerns highlighted by users was that they were not aware of facilities which allowed them to check their monthly BlackBerry data usage.
Vodacom was asked for comment about their decision to throttle high end BlackBerry users, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.