Vodafone's timeline of gaffes, and proof their data limit stinks

We haven't posted about Vodafone since last Friday, after an intense week of news and views on their attempts to impose strict usage terms on customers, as well as introduce new charges for data.

Unfortunately, there's nothing more to say right now. Vodafone claimed they were going to give customers 14 days notice of the changes and charges (instead of the required 30 days), which means customers should have been notified yesterday in time for 1 June; notification through Vodafone's eForums won't count since Vodafone haven't actively contacted all customers.

That leaves two possibilities:

- Vodafone are going to attempt to push through the changes and new charges on 1 June (charges which many forum members claim were never outlined to begin with) without officially notifying existing customers

- Vodafone have decided not to make the changes yet, or at all

There's nothing more to say until Vodafone make a move or the changes appear, so hang tight if you're a Vodafone customer.

In the meantime, you'll remember that we accused Vodafone of misleading customers by giving irrelevent examples of data usage for smartphones. Senior management conceded that they'd "would look into it" but the truth is their examples didn't mention how much data mobile apps use, because it would highlight how paltry a 500MB limit it is.

Want proof? This appeared in today's Metro newspaper, and was sent to us by Bitterwallet reader Dan:

Bitterwallet - Vodafone admits 2 YouTube limit for 500MB

If you don't recognise it, it's a Vodafone ad. Two YouTube videos a day, and that's it - no more data unless you're willing to pay.

This is why customers are fighting Vodafone; if they get away with these changes, it means many customers won't be able to use their mobile in a regular, normal way - in the present, or for the remainder of the contract. The topic in Vodafone's forums now stands at over 1,500 posts; let's see what happens next. Until then, here's the timeline of Vodafone gaffes and U-turns in the past fortnight:

  • On 6 May, there was an announcement in the Vodafone eForums that suggested they intended to scrap the Fair Use Policy that allowed customers to routinely use data beyond the 500MB 'fair use' threshold without additional charges; Vodafone also announced new charges for customers that broke this threshold. This was all to occur from 1 June.
  • On 9 May, a press release appeared that spun the detail to present the changes as a benefit to customers, by warning them if they're were likely to exceed their allowance; the press release was backdated two days earlier, but didn't appear anywhere on that date
  • Two days later on 11 May, another statement - this time Vodafone appeared to be back-peddling furiously, denying the Fair Use Policy would be scrapped, instead stating they'd merely be enforcing the agreed terms, while also claiming 97% of customers never reach their data limit
  • By this point the topic on Vodafone's forums had attracted over 1,000 posts. Customers provided proof that Vodafone staff had stated in writing, time and time again, that the 500MB allowance was a guideline only, in place to penalise customers who used their data for file-sharing or as a modem, and that Vodafone would categorically not use the Fair Use Policy to restrict customers from using their smartphone and its applications. Many customers claim that this was how the tariff was sold to them.


  • Daniel Z.
    Down with Vodafone! Long live BitterWallet! ;-) Nice article!
  • Smithdogg
    Good to see that this issue isn't dead - as I said a comment in the last article, a 500mb limit on my Nokia N900, which was marketed as an "Internet Tablet", not a phone, would utterly cripple it. I've recieved no text about the new charges, and i'll be cancelling my direct debit instantly if they ever try and bite me with these charges.
  • Tim, D.
    I love you guys. And foxes. Unfortunately not at the same time. O2 have recently been mentioning smartphone sims to people who are currently on an unlimited web bolt-on. Maybe they're thinking of following Vodafones footsteps. Makes sense though - massive uptake of smartphones by customers. Weak capability of networks to handle such increase in data use. Two options: 1) Improve their network infrastructure and lose money 2) Screw over the customer by imposing ridiculous limits, and then charge them money for going beyond these bounds and effectively make money. I can see why option 2 looks like the better choice £££.
  • Vincent
    Wonder if this effects the Nexus One data tariff, as I'd love to be able to cancel-without-penalty and get a Nexus One for only £40.
  • Charlie S.
    Wheres Brian and the dude that bums foxes? I need to hear their widsom!
  • Oliver
    Sign the petition against this http://www.petitiononline.com/VFDATA/petition.html
  • N20Y1D
    Vincent, it doesnt affect you, you were sold a 1gb hard limit tarrif with charges already in place if you went over.. of course whether they bothered to tell you this is another matter.
  • Nobby
    Two three minute clips. That usually enough for me to cum. Twice.
  • Will
    6 minute clip of Nobby cumming twice. That usually enough for me to cum. Twice.
  • Big J.
    My gf is on Vodafone and I've asked her to tell me as soon as she receives a text from them. They have sent one today but it's about changes to the cost of calls to directory services. I've not read the text yet but it might be another possible way of getting out of your contract.
  • Dai
    I'm watching this with interest, thanks for your excellent coverage I'm a smart phone (Android) user and my monthly usage sits around 300/400MB most months (used for general browsing, email, twitter etc) . But I still like the fact that I don't have to worry if I go over the magical limit (like accidentally watch loads of videos over 3G not wireless.) I've heard nothing about these changes from Vodafone so far but I await contact with interest. (I changed to Vodafone after your legendary Orange expose :-D )
  • The B.
    Roll it out, I'd get a free Desire, and the 2 months I've paid for would be more than covered by the £90 Quidco, come on, you cowards.
  • M4RKM
    Damn.. i've gone through 30 e-mails today alone.... I'm on the fixed 1gb though, as I blagged an iPhone contract, rather than a standard one... doesn't look like I'll exceed that really... if it comes to the crunch i have my iPhone on o2... Roll on my iPad for work e-mails.. that'll rule! M
  • Poag
    Just had two conversations with vodafone. The first told me that what was happening did count as a change of contract in theory (their systems were down at the time) annoyingly had to call back later to work it through properly. Second time I spoke to someone else and was told that these changes were happening for new customers only . Two team leaders, two separate responses. Glad we get such consistent service!
  • Will
    You think it's just Vodafone misleading customers about data usage? Pretty much every ISP or mobile operator does. Whining at Vodafone will do nothing - there's a gigantic market for mobiles in the UK, and they won't take any notice of a hundred or so whingers - a miniscule fraction of the market. This change of policy is business as usual. They all do it. They all advertise non-unlimited deals as unlimited. They all market "up to 100Mbps" speeds when you only get a tenth of the speed. "Fair use policies" are always essentially caps (whether hard or soft caps) for unlimited packages. They all work around the rules and find ways to do less once they've got your cash. It needs to go to Ofcom. They've seemed to turn a blind eye to these sort of deals and advertising for years.
  • Tim
    Will, the main point (that actually most of the online news reports miss) is that Vodafone are forcing this retrospectively onto EXISTING contracts, ie they are changing what you signed up to originally. Do you think they would accept you paying £20 a month for the last 18 months of a 2 year contract if you signed up at £30? Its essentially the same in reverse. LOL! I may ring them up and tell them I will pay less, and ill alter my terms and conditions too!
  • Vodafone B.
    [...] For previous information concerning Vodafone’s data charges, see the timeline of events here [...]
  • Simon
    hum, just got off the phone in customer services, have been told that the the fair usage goes on the 1st of June, there would be a 50p charge per day of ANY usage over the limit cap, BUT the limit (on my tariff at least) was going from 500Mb upto 1Gb
  • A B.
    [...] removed the word “unlimited” from all their tariffs. If you’d like to read more, there’s a timeline here, and Vodafone’s own forum with over 2,000 posts and complaints. After a senior Vodafone [...]
  • Vodafone S.
    [...] bat and a stereotypical skinhead football supporter way of dealing with loyal customers so far, the PR disaster could well have been [...]
  • HMRC B.
    [...] dear. Silly Vodafone. When they’re not irritating just about everyone in the world, prompting us to tell you just how to cancel your contract with them, they’re hiding money in [...]

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