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Vodacom SA to throttle Blackberry speeds

South African cellular network Vodacom will now throttle the speeds of Blackberry users in a bid to curb the behaviour of those it claims “are abusing the service”.

According to Vodacom, such users will now face their connections being downgraded from 3G to 2G (GPRS or EDGE) once they hit 100MB or more. There is currently no known date of when the speed cap will come under effect. Users of Blackberry Enterprise Services will remain unaffected.

A statement from Vodacom’s official Facebook page explains the reasoning behind the decision: “Vodacom also studied usage patterns to better understand the causes of congestion at peak times and one surprising finding was that more than 95 percent of BlackBerry data usage was attributable to less than 5 percent of users”.

In a statement defending the decision, Vodacom’s chief technical office Andries Delport said, “We need to ensure that all BlackBerry users are able to enjoy the service that they pay for. 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”.

Steps have been taken to ensure that the 95 percent of BlackBerry users who are currently using the service fairly are not impacted by those who are abusing the service. The 5 percent 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 has promised that all browsing and Blackberry services such as BBM will remain uncapped, but for the five percent of users who exceed the new limits, their speeds will be heavily affected. 3G speeds can edge over the 2MB mark, while 2G users will have to contend with GPRS/EDGE speeds, or 320KBS maximum.

To place it in perspective, 100MB gives the user the choice of “spending” their data on either:

  • 125000 tweets or Facebook status updates
  • Under an hour of streaming video
  • More than two hours of Skype at 40MBs per hour
  • 2720 emails with attachments

This is provided that 3G speeds are used, as 2G speeds would barely allow a user to consume any more than 20MB per day.

The move is similar to mobile data caps put in place in the UK and the US.

Vodacom promises that the speed cap will only affect abusers of the service, improving speeds of the regular users. The new Blackberry Usage Policy goes into further detail.

Author | Steven Norris

Steven Norris
Steven Norris is a born writer, living in Claremont, Cape Town and educated in the ways of graphic design but destined to follow in the footsteps of the worlds greatest authors. He has had many years of experience as an SEO copywriter, learning the ropes the hard way before... More
  • Daniel

    “Users of Blackberry Enterprise Services will remain unaffected.” here is my problem with this.1) if you have a Microsoft 2011 server you cannot get a Cal from BB that works on BES, without a 3r d party application e.g. Astrasync.
    2) So you have to downgrade the BES to BIS and the get you mail sent from you vodamail account.
    So I will now be punished for extra use even though i was forced to move from BES to BIS, due to no stable Cal being available for 2011 severs.

  • Test

    Vodascum live…

  • Kk

    this is all rubbish if i can download then i will do it …the other 95 percent cant download coz they have no freaken 3G and that is not our problem, trust me if they had it they would do the same.

  • Conrad

    This was not part of my terms and conditions when i signed for my contract. Breach of contract then???

  • Anonymous

    “More than two hours of Skype at 40MBs per hour” ZA cellular companies disable the use of skype on  Blackberry Handset’s why even mention this as a possible usage of the 100 MB, streaming video & radio is also charged outside of BIS, does this mean you will be throttled even if you have an additional data bundle, Vodacom need to learn to make information simply available and transparent, and provide comparatives that align with possibilities.

  • minus one customer

    Typical, they ll get you n a contract, then bend you over. Vodacom just lost a data customer, and as for the other handsets we have. We will not be using vodacom once the contracts are over. And I am not even affected by this cap, but the mentality deserves. To all the vodacom execs, uys, delports etc, I have an idea about what you can do with a 3G usb dongle… I see your profit margins are suffering.

  • minus two customers

    8. ta has a great data offer. Leave Garbage Vodacom who charge you R289 for 1.2 Gb of data limited to 60 days. Legally they can limit it to 3 years. But scum is scum.

  • minus three customers

    Vodacom SA to throttle Blackberry speeds – post it on fb

  • Lies

    Wow. I can’t believe the comments on here! Are you BB users surprised by this? the whole BIS model with it’s so called “free” data was doomed from the start because of this kind of abuse, and you only had to look at US and UK to see where it was going to end up. Vodacom suckered you with “free” data and now you can’t even buy data when you hit your 100MB. 

  • Joburg69

    Their BIS is already slow and backwards compared to other networks (example MTN), is vodacom just not keen to stay competitive? 

  • Nhanhlal103

    Very soon you people will buy all companys producing ringing tones and start selling phones without ringing tones so that we are forced to buy your tones.that’s not what u told me when u called me to offer me a Blackberry with unlimited internet access once I pay the monthly fee! DAYLIGHT ROBBERY!!!!! SOMEONE CALL CONSUMER PROTECTION PLIz

  • Maggins

    was about to port and upgrade to mtn, but i saw a hello peter complaint that mtn is practicing this, so im going prepaid, so much for giving them business

  • Pingback: Vodacom SA backs out of Blackberry speed capping | memeburn()

  • Waynecruzer


  • Pingback: MTN SA to offer uncapped mobile broadband | memeburn()

  • Murraybowers

    vodacom sucks just another way to rip the consumer off

  • Bankai002

    This is absolute madness. i will migrate …

  • Abd Varind

    This sucks, I think it is shrewd of them, we are paying for the phone with higher speeds only for them to slow it down. Thank you very much I am moving to another network


    This shit is ridiculous,they say only 95% of users isnt abusing the BB network.Bull shit!!!!
    How can this be .The only reason i got a BB is for the speed the phone offers now they(VODACOM)wants to intervine with the data speed.I think its better to change networks because the other networks doesnt seem to have any problems with the so called abusers.Vodacom please stop this dumb throtteling .I realy thought i had the best network .
    Its the new age please wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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