Vodafone launches Hajj roaming data plans
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca Saudi Arabia). Vodafone along with other operators have introduced a Hajj-specific package for pilgrims. This years’ Hajj is expected to bring around 1.2 million visitors to Saudi Arabia. That’s quite an impressive flash crowd in mobile network terms. It has become customary for operators with significant Muslim populations to offer dedicated roaming data plans for pilgrimage. The Vodafone deal:
- Vodafone Hajj Roaming Pack is a new roaming offer that gives you Unlimited Data for just QR 50/week on your Vodafone mobile while roaming in KSA on Mobily. To enjoy this offer, please make sure your mobile stays connected to the Mobily network. This is a limited period offer available for subscription until 10 October 2014.
The roaming data plans have a fair-use policy that caps out at a hefty 100Gb. Beyond that limit, standard roaming rates apply:
- A fair usage policy of 100 GB of data usage is applicable on the Hajj Roaming Pack, beyond which you will be charged at standard roaming rates, for the standard roaming rates, please visit Vodafone.qa/roaming
According to the UK’s Foreign travel advice site for Saudi Arabia (here), visitors are not allowed to take any photos (still or video) including on mobile phones around the holy sites. Any violations are likely to lead to confiscation.
The subscriber density at the holy sites must be overwhelming for operators – over 2 million people. Mobily and other the providers must truly have a challenge on their hands. According to this page, Huawei is helping Mobily spearhead MBB in Saudi Arabia.
- Mosque activities and pilgrimages (especially the Hajj) cause wireless congestion, and this makes it very difficult to provide a differentiated user experience.
As far as roaming data plans go, this seems to be quite unique.