When Vodacom SA announced that it would be throttling the speeds of Blackberry users in South Africa, the company experienced a phenomenal backlash of complaints. In the face of the backlash Vodacom has backed off from its initial plans.
The retreat was led by CEO Pieter Uys who tweeted:
There is also an official release from Uys on Vodacom’s Facebook page:
I’m very concerned that the steps we were planning to put in place were interpreted as punishing normal users. This is not at all our intention and no changes have been implemented to slow down any customer’s BlackBerry service. We are instead working with the makers of BlackBerry, Research In Motion, to find a solution to manage the bulk movie and file downloads, since these are responsible for degrading the service for all other users. By managing this issue we’ll improve the service for all of our BlackBerry customers.
The Facebook release carries on to explain why the cap throttling would have been put into effect:
By using special software and websites to circumvent the BlackBerry service and by downloading huge files for use off the handset itself, a very small number of customers are abusing the service. This can amount to hundreds of gigabytes of data per user each month. By doing this, this small group has negatively affected the network experience of all Vodacom’s BlackBerry customers.
Uys has blamed the incident on a mix-up with his media people, saying that before he left for a trip to London, he told his staff to create a story regarding improvements made to the network. He states that the media staff “got wind of the stuff we are doing in the background. But we are not doing anything to anybody’s BlackBerry service”.
Tethering a Blackberry for internet services is by no means an illegal action but affecting the speeds of the greater mobile phone population should be curbed to ensure a smoother service for all. For now, speeds will remain the same until Vodacom and RIM develop a workable solution.