Vodacom: Unlimited data deal soon

2012-03-14 14:23

Cape Town - Vodacom has hinted that it will soon make unlimited data packages available for a wider selection of smartphones, similar to what BlackBerry users have.

"We are definitely looking at that [data packages]," Nomsa Thusi, executive head of Vodacom Corporate Communications told News24.

"Unfortunately I can't give too much detail on that because we're still in our planning process at this point, so anything can change, but we're definitely looking at having other devices on a similar plan," she added.

BlackBerry users pay a flat rate and have access to the BlackBerry Internet Service which has seen mass adoption of the devices in developing markets like SA.

Recently, Nashua Mobile released an "Xtreme Data" unlimited package for a flat rate, but this is only available with new Nokia contracts.

Price sensitive

Commentators have suggested that mobile operators would not be prepared to deliver such an offering, but Thusi hinted that pricing would be aggressive.

"At this point we can't confirm the exact offering - what it will be because we're still in the planning process - but it will be good because we've had lots of key learning that we derived from the BlackBerry offering," she said.

South African users are price sensitive and more users are upgrading to smartphones, despite the fact that the most popular device in the country is the Samsung E250 feature phone, according to World Wide Worx.

According to statistics from software company Opera, makers of the popular Opera Mini browser that dominates on mobile phones, the web is central to users' experience of their cellphones.

"When we look at what people are doing, by analysing aggregated data from our servers to get top-rankings, we see things like social web; web mail, social messaging services like MXit for example," Christen Krogh, Opera's chief development officer told News24.

Vodacom rejected suggestions that the unlimited data package was not profitable for the operator, despite reports in 2011 that BlackBerry users who exceeded a set data limit would be "throttled".

Vodacom moved to reassure users that a small percentage of BlackBerry users were abusing the unlimited service, but hastened to add that no one was being throttled.


"There is no throttling going on, nobody is having their service slowed down. What we're doing is, we're working with RIM to find that solution," said executive head of media relations at Vodacom, Richard Boorman.

Thusi said that the operator could afford unlimited data packages.

"We're not operating at a loss or it wouldn't make sense for us to launch products where we're operating at a loss, but obviously, it's not as profitable as some of the other packages.

"It's something that customers are very keen on and if you want to keep your customers, you want to offer them products and services that are going to make them want to stay."

In the US and other developing markets, users have been moving away from BlackBerry devices, despite the Canadian firm's efforts to assure customers on the platform's security.

Unlimited data packages in SA could have a similar result and boost cheaper smartphones as customers move toward devices with more capability.

"From that perspective, it kind of makes sense for us to expand these types of services because that's what our customers are really keen on," Thusi said.

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  • JNaMolefe - 2012-03-14 14:38

    And now?

  • Mervyn - 2012-03-14 14:43

    It's about time. I switched off my new smartphone's internet and wi-fi applications due to Vodacom's excessive and exhorbitant charges. As a result, Vodacom has lost out and will lose a long-standing customer!

      marius.koen2 - 2012-03-14 15:21

      You complaining about vodacom, i'm using Cell C and i downloaded just about 20 megs the other day and my balance increased with about R50, it's insane how we are being screwed at the moment. There are strikes w.r.t the toll fees, but when is the strikes coming w.r.t these excessive cell phone charges.

  • Edwhynot - 2012-03-14 14:47

    iPad... plz plz plz gimme freeeeeeeeeee dataaa!!!!

  • JJ - 2012-03-14 15:05

    Please be soon, then iPhone here I come!! Data is the only reason I stay with BB

  • Jan - 2012-03-14 15:17

    Just hope they also improve their system of their current data options where the inability to connect and dropped data connections occur more regularly than the ability to connect.

      Pete - 2012-03-14 22:31

      Jan You're dead right there, most times my download speed is > 1Kb/s. You can also get a contract very quickly, but try and cancel an expired contract. I'm sitting with a 3g that expired a year ago and can't get it cancelled. VODACOM is a total waste of time

  • Doc Simelane - 2012-03-14 15:23

    It's long overdue but I hope the pricing would be reasonable too and they'll make it available to everyone willing to subscribe to it unlike the ones that are only given to new contracts only.

  • Rapailane Uriah Rasegoete - 2012-03-14 17:41

    I'm sure this 'unlimited' data plan will have some heavy T's

  • Rapailane Uriah Rasegoete - 2012-03-14 17:51

    I'm sure this 'umlimited' date plan will come with some heavy T's and C's that it will end up being a limited date plan. I'm not getting my hopes up.

  • John Doeslough - 2012-03-14 18:20

    It's about time. I often work up in Kenya and their main operator offers unlimited data for about R230 per month on a pre-paid contract. If they can do it there then in sure Vodacom can as well.....please Vodacom stop being so bloody greedy

  • mark.booysen - 2012-03-14 19:00

    When u sign a contract with any of the cell operators they should give you a complimentary tub of Vaseline.

      Pete - 2012-03-14 22:33

      Mark.booysen And also nibble your ear gently so you get some passion whilst being screwed

  • Sharmilen - 2012-03-14 23:27

    Vodacom rather save the money you will be investing in this and train your staff how to handles queries promptly. Even if they gave everything FREE: data packages, smartphones I wouldn't take it cos their service is super pathethic. I had a problem with my BB, took it to a Vodashop and was told it was a BB problem and that all BB users were having the same problem...what a load of crap....then went to a MTN Service Centre and they fixed it!!!! Can't wait for my contract to end and move to another Service provider cos Vodacom don't even get back to queries you log or phone. There's value for money......

  • Prom - 2012-03-15 04:50

    I'm not holding my breath. It's most probably very limited like Nashua's "unlimited" or another throttled like MTN's only on a 24-month contract.

  • braamc - 2012-03-15 06:13

    The Vodacom's, MTN's are stealing anyhow from us

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