A couple of months ago NetOne, the country’s second-largest mobile operator, introduced Twitter bundles to complement its existing social media bundle lineup and give additional value for its mobile broadband consumers.
This was also meant to give NetOne some form of product distinction in addition to the fact that the mobile operator has been offering its bundles without any form of data caps. It turns out that last bit has changed.
NetOne has effected a data cap on its social media bundles, meaning that the access windows for each of the bundles bought don’t give subscribers unlimited access to the respective platforms during that period.
So if you buy a weekly bundle for Twitter, Facebook or WhatsApp, there will be a data cap during that period. The data caps are not clearly specified in any of the adverts being flighted for the bundles, neither are they highlighted in any terms and conditions before you pay for the packages. You are, however, informed of how much data you have after buying the bundle.
If NetOne’s concept of capped packages for unlimited bundles seems off, just bear in mind that it’s actually a delayed response from NetOne. Econet and Telecel have these caps on their own social media bundles, something that seems to follow a marked increase in subscriber numbers and data use.
Broadband subscribers have access to a lot of content that uses up a lot of data, what with the way social media has turned video consumption into its best friend. If you pair that with NetOne’s increasing subscribers and some effect of LTE use, then some caps were bound to come up as a suggestion for handling data use.
The problem, however, is in the failure to disclose some of this information. POTRAZ, the regulator, is supposed to be working on a framework that supports subscriber interest and full disclosure from operators and service providers. let’s just hope it also considers cases like this.
In the meantime, just know that anything that offers an “all you can eat” proposition or unlimited from any provider isn’t always what it seems.