Vodafone Australia backflips on per-megabyte data charges

Vodafone Australia backflips on per-megabyte data charges

Summary: Vodafone Australia has reversed a decision that would have seen some prepaid customers charged per megabyte rather than per kilobyte used.

TOPICS: Telcos, Australia

In the face of strong criticism from customers over its decision to start charging per megabyte rather than per kilobyte of data used for some prepaid services, Vodafone has decided to switch all prepaid data charges to per kilobyte.

Vodafone announced to customers earlier this month that it intends to change its prepaid plans from mid February. The changes would remove unlimited access to Facebook, YouTube, and a number of other social-media websites, as well as introducing charging in per-megabyte blocks. This would have meant that even for sessions that only use a couple of hundred kilobytes, the session would be charged as though at least 1 megabyte was used. So, services that use less than 1 megabyte, such as iMessage, would appear to use much more data than previously.

However, in a press release titled "#Vodafix," as a play on the "#Vodafail" Twitter hashtag that gained prominence during the height of the company's network and customer service issues in 2011, Vodafone said that it would switch from the per-megabyte charge back to a per-kilobyte charge.

Vodafone said that it surveyed 10,000 customers prior to Christmas about the proposed change to a megabyte charge, and said that it received "general acceptance." However, following feedback after the announcement, it has decided to switch all prepaid plans to be charged per kilobyte — not just the ones that were originally due to switch to a megabyte charge.

"There's no denying data pricing is confusing, industry wide. Our intention is to introduce a consistent rate across our prepaid plans, and there's more than one way we can do this," Vodafone's director of Customer Care Cormac Hodgkinson said.

"We have decided to not only reverse our decision to introduce per MB charging; we'll also be dropping the existing minimum data session to 1KB for all our prepaid customers."

The change will affect 2.6 million prepaid customers, and affects 20 prepaid plans. The original proposal would have changed six plans, and would have affected 117,000 customers.

Topics: Telcos, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • #Vodajoke

    LOL at this one .... seems that a Director of Customer Service trying to take credit for a change that the same Director put through in the first place that had customers screaming about on social media. On top of that the American CEO has claimed he ordered the retreat based on the backlash .... seriously here is an exec in distress with customers caught in the middle
  • Liars and Theives

    You have to love this:

    "There's no denying data pricing is confusing, industry-wide. Our intention is to introduce a consistent rate across our prepaid plans, and there's more than one way we can do this," Vodafone's Director of Customer Care Cormac Hodgkinson said.

    Yes, there are many ways of doing this, including the way you tried to do which was outright theft, misdirection and pure money grabbing.

    I tried complaining about this to their customer support, and after being ignored, misdirected and then had my support request closed after only 2 days (while claiming it had gone unanswered for 10), I finally managed to get through to someone who actually told me that to save my data, my best option was to use "Wi-Fi' (ie not use their service at all)!!!!. Eventually I was told a manager would call me back. Still haven't heard from them, nor have I seen anything come through the network showing that this decision has been reversed.

    I did some sums, and based purely on 1 day of internet usage, I would have LOST 98% of my data to their arbitrary 1MB minimum, and my data allocation would have been gone in only 12 days. They talk about wanting to STOP the confusion, and yet this initial decision actually created MORE confusion.

    What does that say about these people? When something so blatantly obvious and simple that even a moron could see the ill effect was completely missed by this person? Were the dollar signs blocking his view? Either he is a complete idiot, or he PURPOSELY set out to rip people off.

    Well done Vodafone... don't back down because its the RIGHT thing to do... back down because you get such a severe backlash its that or go broke!
  • Vodafone New Gimic

    The Australian Media has missed a huge new change by Vodafone in all their "repackage" prepaid mobile phone plans. Vodafone have pulled a really brilliant change. Quite simply they have "redefined" a prepaid month period from traditional 30-day validity period to 28-days. This means that a person using Vodafone prepaid mobile to cover one year period will have to purchase 13 "monthly" plans. This reflects a 9% cost increase over earlier plans. Very clever Vodafone! Certainly no longer value for money any way you look at their plans.

    Vodafone also at the same time have decreased validity period on their Crazy Johns prepaid from 45-days to 30-days on their value plans. All these pricing changes indicate Vodafone is desperate to increase revenue and operating profit. It also looks like Crazy John's will no longer be used to target Vodafone value end of market. It also appears that Dodo and Amaysim via Optus 3G network are the two major players in mobile voice with prepaid plans in the 11 to 14 cent per minute range.
    The Realist
  • End of low budget data plans

    With wireless data getting more and more expensive and more and more people buying 3g/4g devices, profitability goes out the window. This will signal the end of low budget wireless in Australia. Does anyone know of a site that compares current 3g/4g plans so that people can hopefully lock in a decent deal until NBN becomes the norm in Oz?