If you are an Econet or Telecel subscriber let’s take a minute to celebrate WhatsApp bundles. Discounted access to the platform has meant sending and receiving images, audio clips and videos; something to smile about. I love the ability to watch,listen and send every video or amusing audio clip without having to worry about mobile data balances.
However I’m not the first person (and I doubt I will be the last) to raise an issue about how the bundles seem to make it harder to download any multimedia content. The process hardly happens in one take which can be frustrating. The element of distrust towards network operators always leaves your everyday subscriber thinking that some sinister plot is at play.
The assumption held by most subscribers (myself included) frustrated by struggling downloads is that the operators are throttling the bandwidth for the “unlimited” service. I’ve even had the same suspicions with Facebook bundles.
Throttling bandwidth is hardly new to broadband service delivery. There is always the risk for an operator or service provider that if you give some subscribers the proverbial inch they will take an ell. The safest alternative is to offer these “unlimited services” with a provision to regulate consumption when things get out of hand. You will still get your unlimited service as promised, it will just be slower.
Judging from the numerous Zim dancehall videos and tracks, and more recently the soccer clips that “exchange hands” thanks to WhatsApp bundles, it would have been probably understood that the operators have to “regulate” consumption. This would have been understandable if it was done openly.
However it seems it’s a network issue (the usual fall guy for bad service). According to representatives from both Econet and Telecel these services are genuinely unlimited. The challenges that we are facing are attributable to occasional network congestion with the rare occasions where some technical challenges have caused minor problems.
In the case of Telecel, some of the “kinks” that subscribers might have met these past few days are being attributed to the integration of the service to the network with the operator promising an improved service in days to come.
It sounds hard to believe and the explanation doesn’t leave room to suggest these download challenges will go away. Unfortunately whether I am convinced by this response or not, I have to accept it. It’s better to have slow unlimited WhatsApp and Facebook than none at all perhaps.