Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Voda-NL: UMTS is useless

Voda-NL has just come out with the message that UMTS is useless. Well, not literally, but that is how I interpret Vodafone capping new and renewed Vodafone Careless Internet Blox to 256kbps instead of the current 3600kbps. There is absolutely no reason for users to buy an HSDPA enabled phone anymore as GPRS is all you get. Literally Vodafone's spokesperson has said that 3600kbps is overkill for end-users as they only surf to and use E-mail.(According to them this is what other market parties were offering).

Voda was offering a Blox subscription at 3600kbps for €9.50/month. It baffles me why Vodafone has taken this blunt route. It seems to me they have made a PR/marketing/financial blunder:
  1. The change was announced without a viable alternative being introduced. So now everybody sees them as short changing customers. 
  2. Voda has said they will come with a new subscription, that would offer the old speed back. What they should have done is introduce 2 new subscriptions, next to the old one, on day one. One that is much slower and has a low cap. Say 128k down and 50 meg cap for 5 euro, one 256k 150 meg cap for 10 euro and one unlimited for 20 euro/month. Nobody would have been the wiser. (I trust Voda could come up with a better plan that even someone with a degree in finance wouldn't be able to understand)
  3. I don't see how capping download speeds is good for Voda. The best thing that could happen to them is customers going over their cap and paying a bonus. That is what hapens with bundles of minutes. Its very simple to go over a 50MB cap if you have 3.6mbit/s available. At 1 euro per meg you go over your cap, this could be a real money maker. 
So, badly communicated and it may be bad for  business too.

Update the day after: Voda has just said the speeds will remain 3600kbps for all users. Bad PR was killing them.

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