Vodafone is to start charging its mobile phone customers extra for going over their mobile phone data bundle limits, the operator revealed on Thursday.
In a forum post, Vodafone representative 'Tom' said the company would introduce out-of-bundle charging from 1 June "to make it fairer for everyone, and to protect [Vodafone's] network from data abuse". Customers on a monthly data bundle will pay £5 for every 500MB they use beyond their bundle limit, while those without a monthly bundle will pay 50p for every 10MB beyond the first 25MB.
The charges announced on Thursday reverse Vodafone's current policy of not charging users for going over their bundle limits. A real-time SMS notification service will be introduced in order to be "completely transparent about these charges", Tom said.
Less than three percent of Vodafone's mobile phone customers go over their data bundle limit, company spokesman Jakub Hrabovsky told ZDNet UK on Friday. He described a 500MB monthly limit as "absolutely ample".
Vodafone customers buying an HTC Desire Android phone, for example, could get a two-year, £35-per-month contract with a data limit of 500MB. At the same contract length and price, T-Mobile bundles a monthly limit of 3GB with the Desire — therefore, a customer wanting the same level of data usage through Vodafone would have to pay a monthly premium over T-Mobile's plan of £25.
According to Hrabovsky, people who are actually using 3GB of mobile data on a monthly basis would most likely be using their handsets as modems for PCs. He added that such people seeking to use Vodafone's data service should "get a dongle and mobile broadband plan", rather than use their handsets for such high volumes of data.