Updated: Vodafone to end free social networking, data charges to change

Changes will affect prepaid customers from 13 February.

Vodafone will soon charge its prepaid customers to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, YouTube and MySpace and will change how it charges for data usage, the telco announced on its website.

“If you currently have infinite social networking included in your recharge, you will still be able to access those sites, but from the 13th of February, your usage will be taken from your data allowance,” Vodafone said. “After you have used that up, surfing will be taken from your Flexible Credit.”

A Vodafone spokesperson said the company decided to end free social networking to eliminate "confusion and worry" when accessing these sites indirectly.

"We recognise the way we now access social networking sites has changed. Where once we would access sites like Twitter and Facebook directly, today there are a range of sites that provide portals to social network sites, eg. Hootsuite for Twitter, Facebook for YouTube etc.

"While a customer may be visiting one of the sites listed in the pack, because they’ve entered the site indirectly through a portal, we can’t provide free access to the site - again this can cause confusion and worry."

Data usage for all prepaid plans will be charged in 1MB increments, with a minimum session of 1MB, Vodafone said. This means customers who use less than 1MB each time they connect to the Internet will still be charged for 1MB. Currently, data usage for Flexi Cap Recharge is charged in 25KB increments, with the minimum data session 25KB.

In December Optus announced it would no longer offer unlimited access to social networking sites for new postpaid customers. However, Optus still offers free social networking for prepaid customers.

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8 Comments

Vodafone Sucks

1

What a total CROCK.

They know for a fact that updates that come from facebook and twitter are small in size, in the range of kb NOT MB. So to make it a minimum charge of 1 MB for each session is purposely STEALING your data allowance. Its a way for them to falsely advertise, telling you that you get 500MB a month, when really they are saying "at most you get 500 sessions, less if you use more than 1 MB of data per session, but there is no way in hell you will ever get more than this".

Think about it. with 500 sessions, connecting for 28 days, thats LESS than 18 sessions a day. So if your phone is set up to update every hour, you will be GUARANTEED to run out of data by the end of the month, and all you hav done is tiny 100-200kb updates.

In effect, you will only be utilizing about 20% of your total data allocation.

Vodafone... you are nothing more than a disgusting thief. I hope customers leave you in DROVES

Simon Griffiths

2

I agree with the above. Vodafone seem to be doing everything they can to move customers over to the other carriers. Not only is their service not that great (and I am a Vodafone customer), their network is falling behind the others in terms of 4G support and now they want to charge us more for it!
I'll be moving as soon as my plan runs out so thanks Vodafone, you've helped make up my mind.

Jerry

3

To the 1 poster it does not sound like you understand how phones work. If your data is enabled on your phone, each time facebook updates or an app updates is NOT a new session. Basically your phone has an open data session when its on and data is enabled and it will only drop/re-start a session for coverage reasons or when you turn it off. This is how almost all modern smart phones work. So whilst what Vodafone are doing isnt fantastic, it is not the apocalyptic scenario you described either.

Choc

4

Actually jerry it is you who do not get who phones work. Lets take the twitter client for example. When you refresh an oauth authentication is sent to twitter to allow the session, it refreshes your data and posts it down. THe session for security reasons is then closed. if thats 200kb, Voda will charge you 1mb

Refresh again? New oauth session, new data download, new 1mb.

Get the picture?

Don't believe? Go read up on the twitter SDK.

charlie

5

Ah guys... Optus already charge all their pre-paid customers in 1MB blocks and it used to be 10MB!: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/03/optus-to-stop-calculating-prepaid-mobile-broadband-data-in-10mb-chunks/

Mick

6

Sheer, out-and-out, unmitigated GREED, that's ALL this is.

Dino

7

Can't believe this?!! They already have CRAP cell site reception and they charge you the same as the other telcos, that are way better than them and they have the nerve to do this? Well once my plan is over im switching to another network!!

URL GREY

8

Why should Youtube, Facebook & other social sites get a free ride for data services ? Why should other subscribers subsidise these social services ? This is reasonable & fair thing to do but no one has mentioned this before. Fair is fair. If watching youtube clips all day at no charge is a significant user of data bandwidth, them I am sure it has been a carefully considered decision to no longer support this.

The 1MB chunks are limited to prepaid users & not postpaid. I don't understand why you are so worried that you will churn your postpaid account when it is not affected.

Vodafone must understand the risk & consequences of upsetting prepaid subscribers with the 1MB data segments, otherwise they would not do this. Time will only tell if the 1MB chunk billing was a correct move.

However, prepaid mobile is a price sensitive product & people will vote with their feet & go else where if data usages charges are excessive. Kogan, AmaySIM, Boost, Red Bull & Lebara will be winners.

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