Uncapped LTE: Telkom defends fair use policy
Telkom. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Johannesburg - Telecoms network Telkom has responded to criticism of its fair usage policy regarding its soon-to-be-launched uncapped LTE promotion.
On Thursday, Telkom said it’s planning an online sale from June 10 to July 10 in which it will sell 24 month contracts relating to its uncapped LTE products with prices starting at R599 per month in selected Gauteng areas.
Telkom said the promotional packages will be “capped at 150 (customers) per base station to ensure a high quality customer experience with the service”.
The auction will start at R599 for the first 50 customers, R699 for the second 50 and R799 for the final 50 available packages at each base station, according to Telkom.
READ MORE: Telkom launches uncapped R599 LTE packages
The products form part of Telkom’s SmartBroadband Uncapped Wireless range.
Telkom, though, sent Fin24 its fair usage policy regarding this product range, which has resulted in questions being asked about whether the service is really uncapped.
READ MORE: Limits on Telkom's uncapped R599 offer
In the policy, Telkom says it reserves the right to apply restrictions on an uncapped account if a customer’s behaviour is affecting the user experience of other customers on the network. Telkom says it can also throttle these customer’s throughput speeds or shape their bandwidth.
Another part of Telkom’s terms and conditions for the SmartBroadband Uncapped Wireless products indicates how caps of 50GB could apply in instances where users use bandwidth intensive protocols or applications such as bittorrent traffic downloaded via peer to peer, application to application, application to server and news servers protocols.
Telkom also says that bandwidth intensive protocols and applications will be throttled across the network to 128 Kbps during peak network periods of between 6pm - 12am.
Subsequently, Fin24 users wrote in to criticise Telkom’s SmartBroadband range.
“How can they advertise uncapped but it’s subject to fair usage which actually makes it capped,” wrote Fin24 user Rory de Wet in an email.
Another Fin24 user Deone Wardle wrote in an email: “I believe the fair usage policy should be done away with or Telkom should stop advertising ‘uncapped’ products as this deceives the public!”
Fin24 user Arnold Botha also wrote: “If they offer uncapped it should be uncapped. Only throttle when needed for example when the network is congested throttle the top users when it is no longer congested un-throttle.”
Attila Vitai, who is the managing director of Telkom Mobile and Consumer, has further explained to Fin24 how his company’s fair usage policy works regarding its uncapped LTE products.
Vitai said a key part of the policy is ensuring fast speeds for users. Telkom in its statement on Thursday said its LTE products can deliver download speeds of up to 90Mbps and up to 25Mbps upload speeds.
"In order to ensure that users experience that kind of speed, we want to ensure that there are no heavy users there that will ruin the experience for the others. So, what we're saying is that for all the applications and protocols, you'll be able to download your Apple TV, your Netflix, Box Office, video streaming, VPN (virtual proxy network) traffic, YouTube, music streaming, all email protocols, FTP (file transfer protocol), you name it, everything,” Vitai told Fin24.
"But bittorrent, we're saying now we know that there will be some people who want to use it for downloads that are borderline whether it's legal or illegal. But we're not going to take a moral stance, or a legal stance, in saying you shouldn't be downloading.
"It's not a moral thing for us that we don't want you to be downloading bittorrent.
"We don't want people to screw it up for other users. Therefore, saying we will cap it at 50GB, but actually it is a soft cap because we will allow people to use either bittorrent from midnight to 6pm up at full speed up until 50GB, but then we're saying after if you're a real heavy user and you get to 50GB, we'll allow you to use it but we'll throttle it back because that means you will have an impact. If you're that heavy a user, chances are you'll impact other users,” Vitai told Fin24.
Vitai reiterated to Fin24 that Telkom is trying to ensure that “all users get a good experience" and that the company will conduct the likes of throttling speeds as a " last resort because we want to ensure that it's a good user experience”.
Vitai also told Fin24 that Telkom currently has about 1 300 LTE towers in South Africa and that the company plans to launch its uncapped LTE promotions in more areas in the country.
What are your views on Telkom’s reasons for its fair use policy? Tell us by clicking here.
View Telkom's terms and conditions for its uncapped LTE products below.