BlackBerry Internet usage caps: what to expect

Summary: Vodacom will throttle the speed of BlackBerry users who exceed 100MB of data usage per month. MTN may do the same, but Cell C and 8ta have no such plans

Vodacom announced this week (12 September 2011) that they will throttle the speeds of their BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) subscribers who exceed 100MB of usage per month from 3G to 2G. Blackberry Enterprise Users will not be affected by this decision.

This decision comes on the back of research which Vodacom said showed that more than 95% of BlackBerry data usage was attributable to less than 5% of users.

“When we realised that such a small minority was using the bulk of the capacity, we decided to implement measures that will ensure that Blackberry users will enjoy a better browsing experience overall,” said Chief Technology Officer Andries Delport.

“The 5% of the base who are not using the service for what it was intended will have their connection speed reduced from 3G to 2G levels,” Vodacom said.

MTN, Cell C and 8a

This decision by Vodacom raises the question whether other BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) providers in South Africa will do the same?

When 8ta was confronted with the question as to whether they have plans to implement a usage limit on their BlackBerry Internet Service users, the company sidestepped the question.

“8ta continues to offer the 500MB of data as part of the BlackBerry offer. We aim to provide our customers with the best experience and service quality on our network,” 8ta said.

8ta’s refusal to answer the question may well indicate that they may be considering a usage limit on their BlackBerry subscribers.

8ta however cleared up the confusion, saying that they have no plans to impose usage limits on their BIS users (see 8ta BlackBerry clarification article).

Kanagaratnam Lambotharan
Kanagaratnam Lambotharan - MTN SA CTO

MTN SA Chief Technology Officer Kanagaratnam Lambotharan told MyBroadband that they have, like Vodacom, seen a significant number of customers using the BIS platform for purposes it was not initially intended for.

“MTN is currently exploring ways to minimise the negative impact this might have and will communicate to customers in due course.”

MTN’s Data Portfolio Manager for Enterprise Markets at MTN SA Surajh Surjoo previously pointed out that MTN’s terms and conditions do cater for the implementation of a FUP on all MTN Unlimited or Uncapped Internet services “to thwart customer abuse that deteriorates the experience or service for all other customers.”

Cell C spokesperson Karin Fourie said that they have no plans to limit the data usage on their BlackBerry Internet service.

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BlackBerry Internet usage caps: what to expect