In South Africa, telecom company Vodacom is advertising a hard-capped broadband service as uncapped, which, according to reports, is against the Internet Service Providers Association’s “Guidelines and Recommendations on Broadband Terminology”.
The telecom company offers three “Home Internet LTE Uncapped” packages with speeds of up to 10Mbps, 20Mbps, and 30Mbps.
Vodacom recently informed its subscribers that effective from 15 February 2023, “all new and existing uncapped Home Internet customers will be subject to a hard lock”.
Once the soft cap fair use policy (FUP) has been reached, as per the individual price plan, a subscriber’s service is interrupted unless they buy more data.
“To continue data usage, customers should purchase a 100GB or 200GB bundle,” Vodacom said. The ISPA guidelines define this type of service as “hard-capped Internet access”.
Vodacom argues that the vast majority of customers won’t reach the hard cap, which means it is “effectively providing an uncapped service”.
However, this argument has no substance and does not satisfy the ISPA requirement to call a broadband service uncapped.
Although Vodacom is not an ISPA member despite being one of the largest ISPs in the country, its misuse of the term “uncapped” will create unnecessary confusion in the market.
ISPA states that members are not required to use the broadband categories defined in its guidelines.
To not encroach on the domain of the Advertising Regulatory Board, ISPA didn’t force its definitions on marketing material.
“ISPA wishes to emphasise that the above characterisation is intended as a guide to understanding broad categories,” it states.