Vodafone has been caught red-handed throttling mobile internet connections of users. This might not seem surprising, as the multinational telecom provider has been blamed more times than we can remember for engaging in the practice of connection throttling.
What’s different this time is that a subscriber has actually recorded video evidence that proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that Vodafone is slowing down internet speeds. The individual – who goes by the username GreatBritain on Vodafone.co’s official forums – created a thread with their complaint along with the said proof that something fishy is going on with Vodafone’s networks.
According to the user, the speed tests were performed on his Note 10 Plus 5G phone using Vodafone’s mobile data before and after connecting to a VPN. And the results are shocking:
The user – who lives in Kingston Upon Hull, England – explicitly pointed out that they performed these tests at the exact same spot and the only thing that changes between the two tests is the connection to a VPN:
In fact, they also report the exact same problem occurring while in Manchester.
Something is definitely suspicious here, but is it fair to accuse Vodafone of engaging in deliberate throttling or could this problem be adequately explained as a temporary technical issue?
There are compelling reasons to believe that this is, in fact, an act of deliberate throttling on the part of Vodafone. Allow me to explain why.
Connecting the Dots to Vodafone’s Guilt
Let’s start with all the facts we have from GreatBritain’s (I’ll call him GB from now) thread and then follow these to their logical conclusion:
- A Vodafone subscriber (GB) from Kingston Upon Hull, England uses Unlimited Max Plan (full capacity 4G & 5G) on their Note 10 Plus 5G phone.
- Using Ookla’s SpeedTest app, GB measures the download speed which turns out to be around 10 Mb/s.
- In the video, the tests are done in Manchester and the speed is slightly higher (15 Mb/s) but still significantly less than full 4G/5G capacity.
- GB then performs the test using the same SpeedTest app, on the same phone, and within the same spot in Manchester, but this time, GB is connected to ExpressVPN’s London server.
- With the VPN connected, GB now receives 71.1 Mb/s, which is much closer to the mark that 4G and 5G networks are capable of reaching.
- GB has tried different telecom providers including O2, Three, and EE, but hasn’t experienced this problem in any of these networks.
- GB has tried changing the device, SIM card, DNS settings, and refreshing their account; all to no effect.
- Using a VPN is the only intervention that had any effect (and a significant one at that).
In light of these facts, the conclusion that Vodafone is purposely throttling the connection of the user is inescapable.
If this were a case of a network issue on Vodafone’s end, using a VPN would only result in the same level of speed as that obtained without a VPN. There is no way that a VPN can boost a 4G network’s speed by 374% unless the service provider was throttling the user’s connection.
Thanks to the ability of VPNs to bypass ISP throttling, there is zero room for doubt that Vodafone is indeed throttling the connection of their users.
Although there are no official reports as to wide-ranging this issue is for Vodafone subscribers, complaints from various sources on social media seem to indicate this is not an isolated incident:
Can anyone explain why I've come to London and my phone is just being a real shitshow when it comes to data speeds? Have unlimited 4G on Vodafone, no throttling parameters set, and yet it's taking like 30 seconds to load a basic Google search. Instagram/FB is a non-event.
— Rachel England (@Rachel_England) September 7, 2019
Do I need to reset this router or it’s just Vodafone throttling my download speed? ?
— Wiz?? (@wezzy_wiz) July 30, 2019
And here we can see how #Vodafone is throttling my connection. I have a 20Mbit line in theory. I download with a peak of only 6Mbit which then drops to 2. It's the same every single day after 2PM. I'm even considering switching to Telekom but they're also a bunch of thieves. pic.twitter.com/GjXM9ifBex
— Hejeldrummer ???????? (@Hejeldrummer) March 15, 2019
If you are a Vodafone subscriber and getting sluggish speeds, you can test whether you are also a victim of throttling by comparing your connection speed before and after using a VPN. If the results show a significant difference in speeds, you can bet that your internet connection is getting throttled.
I think it’s high time that Vodafone came clean about their practice of throttling. It’s no longer just a speculative allegation that Vodafone throttles connection speeds. GreatBritain’s evidence and complaints from various other subscribers prove beyond reasonable doubt that Vodafone is violating the principles of fair internet with uninformed throttling of their users’ connections. I hope this serves as a wake-up call for Vodafone to get their act together and start delivering subscribers what they paid for.