Vodacom's BlackBerry crackdown kicks in PDF Print E-mail

The roughly 5% of BlackBerry users on the Vodacom network who use the fixed-fee Internet service for bulk downloading will now be side-lined in favour of the majority.

SA's largest cellphone operator has instituted a new system that gives priority to non-bulk download traffic during peak periods. According to Vodacom head of corporate affairs, Richard Boorman, while all the operator's BlackBerry users have been transferred to the new system, “there is no impact on normal usage of the BlackBerry service”.

Boorman says the new system is essentially a traffic monitoring and management process, which provides the functionality typically used by Internet service providers to manage Internet traffic according to various parameters. “These parameters can include applications, protocols, users, URLs and other criteria.”

Talk of an abuse crackdown came to the fore last year, when Vodacom said it could not keep up with the amount of data going down the BlackBerry pipe, and that it would have to curtail users who degraded BlackBerry Internet Services.

At the time, Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys said about 50 000 users generated the same volume of data as the rest of the 1.6 million BlackBerry subscribers on the operator's network. One customer, Uys pointed out, managed to use a record amount of 332GB of data in a month.

Uys said Vodacom would work together with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion to develop a solution to mitigate the huge disparities in user demographics. The resulting system, which was officially instituted a week ago, is essentially a throttling system for large downloads.

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