Vodafone’s 15GB Fixed Broadband Data Cap
On Wednesday, November 14, I got a text message from Vodafone and it said:
“Dear customer, from Nov 28 2012, your fixed broadband package will have 15GB of internet allowance valid for 30 days. Your monthly fee will be GHC65 per month”
Wow! I never thought this day will come and even if I did this was not how it was supposed to be. I, as well as the several customers of Vodafone fixed broadband signed up for “unlimited data” downloads at specified speeds with respect to the individual packages we chose. So now it is a shock to find out that I will be limited to only 15GB of data for 30 days at virtually the same price.
I got another text message the following day, Thursday, the 15th:
“Yesterday’s fixed broadband text message was for new customers only. Your new 15GB allowance starts on 15 December, 2012. Thank you.”
Like that solves anything; I signed up for 70ghc for an average speed of 120 KB/s even though Vodafone claims to give me 2meg. (I don’t know if they are confusing mebi with mega).
Well, upon my calculations, I realized that in the case I continue using my data service in the same way as I have always been using, per say I use it for 24 hours non-stop download at my average speed of 120KB, then I’m going to exhaust my data allowance of 15gb in approximately a day and half for 65ghc. That is preposterous.
Some of you may ask what the hell I might be downloading that might need me to exhaust 15 GB of data overnight! Well, let me give you a scenario. There are a lot of companies and businesses who rely heavily on the internet, in these days of IT, to run their business. Examples are Web Design firms, advertising agencies, job and HR companies, data entry firms, software companies, online learning centres, internet cafes, modern day business with international affiliations who do video conference meetings via media like Skype, googlechat and facebook. For whatever package they subscribed for, their cost of business is going to go up significantly.
Take the internet cafes for example. They rely on the “unlimited” feature of the Vodafone fixed broadband to operate within sense. Now, where they have a data cap, guess what’s going to happen? Their cost of business is going to shoot up because the cost of their “raw material” has just gone up. And I promise you, they would transfer that cost to you and I who frequent the café day in day out. So your average internet café cost for an hour’s voucher is going to go up. Businesses would start charging higher fees to in order to offset the cost coming from the data capping since they will be forced to buy extra data.
I have been to many internet forums which featured topics on internet download speeds and services they come with. Some places enjoy 10 times the speed we get here in Ghana for almost half of what we are paying. Check out examples of comments below taken from an article published some 2 years ago and compare it to our current situation in Ghana:
Alex: In ROMANIA, we pay 9.25 euros/month for 100 mbps unlimited traffic + free ZTE HSDPA 7.2 Mbps usb modem with 5 GB traffic per month, after 5 GB the internet speed will be really slow!
thor94: for me (france): 35€/month for 100mbps (ftth) unlimited traffic+ unlimited phone (land+mobile around the world)+ HD TV (more than 150 channel)
Miti_bg: I am from Bulgaria. I pay 17 euros for Internet and cable TV. My internet is 50mbps and I get 60 channels. For 25 euros I would get 150mpbs and 150 channels. By the way – it is super reliable. I am with this company for 6 months now and the internet haven’t stopped even a single time. With my previous supplier (I stayed with them 1 year and the internet stopped 4 or 5 times – between 5 minutes and 2 hours each time).
Peter Pain: Ukraine, $18 per month. gigabit (1000Mbps) connection to entire world, unlimited bandwidth. Free Digital TV 150 channels. 100Mbps costs $9.
A lot of people I have spoken to physically and online seemed very peeved about the intended action by Vodafone. They don’t see why Vodafone should do that and have been venting their frustration on Vodafone social media pages. There has even been a group formed on facebook to protest this action. But I don’t know how this can really have an effect unless the likes of PURC and Consumer Bureau step in to stop this madness.
Customers seem even more annoyed that Vodafone will announce such a major event through text messages instead of say… a press conference or press release where there can be a call for more clarification or protest. No explanation. It is just like saying that “We’ve got the fixed lines and we can do whatever the hell we want to do with it. SO take or go to hell.”
Vodafone does not have any comments regarding the data capping on their website or facebook page. Any attempt to ask questions on the facebook page goes unanswered and these questions are being deleted as they are posted. It is as if Vodafone is trying hard to keep this on the quiet side and try to slip it down the throat of the present customers without alarming the new ones.
Critically looking at these figures makes me feel strongly that Vodafone has no moral right to cap data limit on fixed broadband. Vodafone rather has to improve service by giving me better speeds and extra services. Otherwise, I would draw the conclusion that Vodafone wants to kill businesses by making them unsustainable. Vodafone wants people to lose their jobs by forcing pay cuts and unemployment, by reducing profitability just for the mere fact that they can do it because they only have fixed broadband in the country. That is unfair business practice.