CELLULAR network operator MTN’s decision to end the R59-a-month BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) poses two issues : the first being the expense of providing a service offering unlimited data‚ and the second of creating customer expectations and then taking away the reason the customer signed up‚ says Data Room telecoms analyst Heidi Gouws.
Earlier this week‚ MTN said BIS would be replaced by BlackBerry Absolute‚ which gives users a maximum of 200MB of data a month and‚ if they exceed this‚ they would have to top up and pay extra. The firm’s statement said the new package would not have a major effect on its consumers.
Two years ago‚ Vodacom attempted a similar "throttling of BlackBerry” when its then CEO Pieter Uys complained that users were abusing the service and downloading files and video‚ for which it was not intended. He said the popular BlackBerry Messenger was being used to swap songs‚ that TV shows and films were being downloaded‚ and the BlackBerry internet portal was never made to handle that volume.
Ms Gouws said that cellular network operators were well aware that a user downloading huge chunks of data using an unlimited service was a model that was not sustainable.
SA is one of the few countries that allows the "all-you-can-eat” BlackBerry internet service. There are about 5-million BlackBerry users in the country.
Ms Gouws said some of her corporate clients had been moving away from BlackBerry for a while as they wanted phones that could better integrate with their Microsoft or open-source software systems. © BDlive 2013