Vodacom South Africa will soon begin to throttle the data for users they claim are ‘abusing the service’. There is no known start date, but users will face their connections being downgraded from 3G to 2G (GPRS or EDGE) once they hit 100MB or more. However, BES customers will not be affected by the throttling.

Vodacom SA gave their reason for the change on Facebook, saying “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”.

Andries Delport, Vodacom’s chief technical office, defended the change by stating, “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”.

Vodacom claims all BlackBerry services (BBM, Email, internet browsing) will not be affected by the came. To place the throttle 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