Vodafone brings controversial Pass options to Australia

Pass has entered its tenth country while the UK looks into its potential net neutrality ruining aspects.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
(Image: Corinne Reichert/ZDNet)

Vodafone Australia has unveiled its Pass add-ons that allow for unlimited non-metered use of a selection of sites at 1.5Mbps.

At an additional AU$15 per month cost, users can endlessly stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Stan; for AU$10 each month, users can stream music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, and SoundCloud; endless data from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterst can be purchased for AU$10 a month; while the text elements of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, along with text and call parts of Viber, can be used at 1.5Mbps for AU$5 a month.

The call elements of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are explicitly excluded.

Vodafone said Australia is the tenth country to receive Pass, and allows customers to tailor plans. Pass add-ons automatically renew each month, and cannot be used on its Plus plans, the telco added.

Vodafone's use of Pass in the UK has drawn the ire of its communications regulator, Ofcom, which opened an inquiry in March into whether Pass violates EU net neutrality requirements.

Specifically, Ofcom is interested in Vodafone's traffic management and how the telco dictates which network services use customer data allowances and which do not.

"Vodafone does not 'throttle' speeds on Vodafone Passes, either in the UK or while customers are roaming. The Video Pass is optimised so that all of our customers have a high-quality experience when streaming content on the network," Vodafone UK said at the time.

"We developed Vodafone Passes in direct response to customer feedback and have provided clear information to customers about how they work."

Earlier this week, Vodafone effectively topped a customer service survey from ACCAN, as the telco that gained the highest mark, Virgin Mobile, is in the process of being shut down by Optus.

Last month, Vodafone dropped its upfront charges for customers switching to NBN services, as well as launching a Wi-Fi booster and rewarding customers that use the telco for fixed and mobile services.

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