Vodacom’s Blackberry Internet Service headaches

Vodacom is the largest BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) mobile operator in the world and this seems to be taking a toll, with the company saying it needs to look at alternatives to protect itself against increased data use on smart devices.

Recently, Vodacom BIS subscribers have been complaining of slower speeds with some hinting at that possibly the mobile operator is throttling speeds. According to Jannie van Zyl, Data lead at Vodacom, this is not the case.

“As a matter of fact we’ve got capacity on our links. If you run very big pipes you often get upstream bottlenecks, and we have seen that once or twice over the last couple of months. Our link to RIM currently is, I think, 2.3 or 2.5 gigabits. It’s a massive link and it’s not running at full capacity.

“The fact that you get a worry-free internet experience in terms of not having to manage your data consumption and your cap and so on is what drove BlackBerry.”

He added that, “unfortunately, the proposition [has] changed a lot over the years.”

“When BIS was launched, together with the other operators worldwide, it was really an email service – you could do your email, you could do your instant messaging, BBM came along and it was still all about messaging and it all worked very well,” he says.

Van Zyl adds that when they built for the original proposition, it was a good proposition for both network operators and for consumers.

“You paid a fixed, flat fee; you had peace of mind; and you could always do what you needed to do on your BlackBerry…but then of course it changed. As the handset’s capabilities changed, this ability to download large files came about,” he said.

According to van Zyl, the numbers are quite staggering as they have witnessed 300 gigabytes in a month being downloaded on a BlackBerry handset for R59, which was a problem.

“I think we’ve learnt from the experience of BIS, and we are looking at how we can bring these propositions together where the networks are protected in some way, but we still provide this peace of mind,” he said.

Posted in: Telecoms

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