Earlier this year local mobile network operator (MNO) NetOne placed data caps on the WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook components of its OneFusion package as well as its standalone WhatsApp and Facebook bundles.
The move disappointed its subscribers who had enjoyed the unlimited social media access which accommodated heavy usage through features like Facebook Live and multimedia file sharing.
According to NetOne’s CEO, Brian Mutandiro the data caps were adopted because some subscribers were abusing the feature and using abnormally high amounts of data which affected network performance.
Speaking on the sidelines of a recent parliamentary hearing for mobile operators, Mutandiro pointed out that while there was a reasonable amount of data usage from the majority of subscribers, a handful were manipulating data access settings and using their unlimited bundles to use massive amounts of data through services like downloads.
The value of the additional data used through this was well above the amount that a subscriber would have spent on the specific bundle and it exceeded the average amount of data used by subscribers.
Applications like Psiphon (a network bypassing tool) and Opera Mini Handler have often been used together with unlimited internet services like NetOne bundles to browse the internet for free through the modification of server address and proxy settings.
Some forums, even local ones are even dedicated to sharing information on how to do this. NetOne has been the first to speak out about this has affected them while networks like Econet with their unlimited Kwese bundles were also exposed to this.
With Zimbabwe’s prohibitive mobile data prices herding subscribers into bundled alternatives for WhatsApp and Facebook workarounds like Opera Mini Handlers will always be adopted by enterprising subscribers trying to access more of the internet.