Vodafone Backpedals On Prepaid Data Charging

When Vodafone announced changes to its prepaid mobile plans earlier this month, there was an outcry from some consumers over its plans to shift to per-MB charging. Vodafone has now reversed that decision and says it will introduce per-KB charging across all prepaid plans, but it hasn't changed its mind about ditching free access to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking sites.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Vodafone says that while a survey 10,000 of customers last year suggested most would be happy with per-MB pricing, the counter-reaction once the plan was actually announced had been stronger than it expected. As a result, it will now charge per KB and impose a minimum session of just 1KB on all prepaid plans. Like the previous changes, these only apply to prepaid customers and will take effect from February 13.

That shift represents no change for the existing TXT & Talk and 365 Day Recharge plans, which already have a 1KB data session. It's a slight improvement for the Flexi-Cap, International and All-Time plans, which have a 25KB minimum session currently, and a big change for the Prepaid Cap plan, which has a 1MB minimum data session already. As those figures make clear, shifting to a 1MB charging unit and session minimum would have disadvantaged the majority of prepaid customers.

If you purchase a phone on contract from Vodafone, the conditions remain different. With current contracts, a minimum of 50KB is counted for each session. Vodafone also announced plans last week to shut down the Crazy John's brand, which had entirely different approaches to counting data.

Think this is a sensible move? Still want free social networking back? Figure that what happens with Vodafone doesn't matter much anyway? Tell us in the comments.

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