Vodafone has announced this evening that it will reverse two of its recent controversial pricing changes, but social media addicts are still out in the cold.
Vodafone announced changes to its prepaid plans on January 10 including the end of its longstanding free social networking promotion, which provided its prepaid customers with free access to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, YouTube and MySpace. In the same announcement they also announced that they would also change data billing to 1MB per session, and charge data usage in 1MB increments.
All three changes concerned users greatly – not only might they now pay 1MB for that the few kilobytes of email they received at any one time, they’d also be paying per-MB for use of Facebook, Twitter, etc and heavy users would likely see their precious data allowance simply disappear faster. Confusingly, Vodafone claims that the decision to move to 1MB data and sessions was undertaken after a survey of 10,000 users before Christmas showed broad support for the idea.
After a week of intense scrutiny from media and feedback from angry prepaid customers, Vodafone this evening announced that it will reverse the per-MB billing and 1MB minimum data session changes and change to per-kB billing and 1kB minimum data sessions. The changes will take effect from February.
This actually lowers the minimum data session down from its current levels for some users, providing them a better deal. Cormac Hodgkinson, Vodafone’s Director of Customer Care, said:
“Our intention is to introduce a consistent rate across our prepaid plans, and there’s more than one way we can do this.”
While it’s unfortunate that it took a public outcry to do it, we’re glad to see them move in this direction.
Vodafone hasn’t commented on the removal of its free social networking promotion, but following a similar move from rival Optus it seems this is unlikely to change.
Let us know what you think of Vodafone’s pricing changes – before and after – in the comments.