Balls. Big ones.

This is entertaining AND irritating. Paul Brislen from Vodafone, replying to a gripe about the uselessness of Vodafone Live compared to The Internet, say the following:

“The reason customers use [Vodafone Live] in the first place is because going out onto the WWW without such protection can be fruitless and expensive. The front page of Stuff alone would cost a fortune to open…”

Fantastic. That’s a Vodafone NZ rep saying that VFLive is better than the internet because accessing the internet will cost you insanely high per-meg data charges. Data charges set by … Vodafone NZ.

This is pretty much exactly like being tried for murdering your parents and asking the judge for clemency because you are an orphan.

I presume VFLive servers are located in a data center in NZ. So are the Stuff.co.nz servers. In order to get to stuff.co.nz at speed, Vodafone might have to run some peering links up to APE and/or WIX, but that’d probably cost no more than a few thousand a month for some GigE or 10gigE links, spread across their entire userbase. Accessing VFLive is free. Accessing stuff.co.nz costs 50c/megabyte. I’d like to see someone from Vodafone attempt to explain why.

7 thoughts on “Balls. Big ones.

  1. hahah you need to come to a country with what is finally becoming usable mobile broadband… you can now get an account with Optus that is $49.95 a month and gets you 5 gig of Data a month at whatever speed you can get with your cell phone or cellular USB modem. After that you get shaped down to a slower speed.

    mmmmmm it’s actually competitive in some rural areas with the broadband plans … if they are even available.

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    1. Sprint in the US is flogging their all-you-can-eat-every-service-except-global-roaming plan for US$99.99/mo. Do you know how much data that is per month when you have your phone GPS on 9+ hours a day?! 🙂

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  2. I prefer the term cajones myself

    John, hello there!

    I think you’re misconstruing what I said:

    I said:

    snip
    The reason customers use a walled garden in the first place is because going out onto the WWW without such protection can be fruitless and expensive. The front page of Stuff alone would cost a fortune to open and consists of a series of links to stuff you don’t want on most mobile browsers.
    snip

    By which I mean customers who try to use traditional browsers (I’m not including the iPhone in that – it changes the browsing experience completely ) on mobile devices (phones rather than smart phones) will find they spend ages trying to download images that don’t fit, links that don’t work and occassionally flash movies that simply sit there clogging the pipe and never run. Being charged anything for that experience is too much. That it would cost (last estimate I saw) $5 to get the front page of Stuff and STILL not be able to read the story is not a good experience for anyone, least of all the customer. Hence a walled garden approach where you can download exactly the bit you want and not pay data charges for it.

    Of course, certain new mobile browsers do far better than that and frankly that spells the end of the walled garden approach. That is exactly as it should be.

    Let the flaming begin!

    Cheers

    Paul

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    1. Re: I prefer the term cajones myself

      Your older-phone-browsers-suck argument is quite a valid one. No-one wants to be paying 50c/meg for data they don’t get to use. However, do you think it’s okay for Vodafone to charge $5 to get the front page of stuff if the customer can view it in an acceptable manner on their handset? $5 to view a web site of any kind seems absurd, especially when as I have previously stated, there’s little technical network difference between a VFLive site and any other NZ hosted site. Have you any comment on that?

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m generally very very happy with my VF phone, and I’ve been a customer for years and years. But the data charges are, frankly, insane – I rarely use my mobile data connection for anything with a heavier data payload than e-mail.

      When you say “Of course, certain new mobile browsers do far better than that and frankly that spells the end of the walled garden approach. That is exactly as it should be.” do you mean that when you have phones with real browsers in (as an example, the iPhone you mention) that you’ll be moving away from having large data charges on VFNZ Internet connections? If Vodafone offered a data account with a flat rate charge where after a certain amount of data, my throughput speed was restricted, I would (a) be delighted, and (b) not mind if that flat rate charge was a whole lot more money than I pay Vodafone currently. Can you comment on this?

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      1. Re: I prefer the term cajones myself

        I can’t talk about the iPhone at all beyond our initial statement (we’re getting it later this year) so I’ll carefully avoid all comment on its capabilities…

        We are addressing casual data charges. We are looking at new plans for handsets (as opposed to laptops using Vodems or cards which are well served I believe). All I can say is all the threads are coming together nicely and I’d expect to see us innovating in this area in the near future. Can’t launch it here though (marketing would kill me) but I’ll definitely post as/when I can.

        Cheers

        Paul

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    2. Re: I prefer the term cajones myself

      >>(I’m not including the iPhone in that – it changes the browsing experience completely ) on mobile devices (phones rather than smart phones)

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