I came across this article on IOL Technology.co.za and just found it K@K funny. Especially the last few paragraphs.
The mystery of the expiring data bundles
Robert Greig 19 September 2008 at 10h09
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Why does unused data bought by non-contract customers revert to the sellers - the cellphone companies - after 30 days? The answer from two main data providers, MTN and Vodacom, is essentially: because it does.
I submitted these to cellphone operators last week: why do data bundles expire in 30 days?
What technical or other reasons prevent the bundles being rolled over from month to month?
Over the last 12 months, what has been the average monthly overall rand value of such pay-as-you-go data bundles purchased?
What percentage of such bundles is not fully used and what is its rand value?
The background is this: you buy a data bundle which gives you cheaper rates in using your cellphone as a modem.
You'd use a cellphone as a modem for various reasons: the normal dial-up is slow and costly; you're on the road or you don't connect often but want it fast.
Data is sold in packages of different sizes at different costs per megabyte and credited to you as a conversion of airtime. It has to be used within 30 days.
If you run out of data, then you start using more airtime and, as 70 percent of cellphone users, who are on pay-as-you-go, will tell you, it's costly.
If you don't use your data within 30 days, then the seller ghappses it and possibly sells it again.
Not using your data pushes up the effective cost of the package.
You pay less per megabyte for bigger bundles but the principles of compulsory use may eliminate advantage.
And again, after 30 days, your surplus data is ghappsed.
I struggle to identify a commercial equivalent.
Might it be a lawyer charging for an hour's time for a half-hour consultation?
When buying data bundles, is one leasing time or more arcanely, taking an option on it?
We're in murky water here.
The cellphone operators' advice - to buy only what you know you will use - sounds more sensible than it is, like being told not to surf where there might be sharks.
Befuddled, I sought illumination.
Why do data bundles expire in 30 days? The MTN spokesperson's answer was careful and considered: "The data bundles bought from MTN expire after 30 days."
I rephrased the question, stressing the word she might not have heard: "Why?"
She paused and this time the answer was considered and careful. "The data bundle you buy from MTN expires after 30 days."
Not wanting to slap helpfulness in the face, I asked her for the email address of a non-stuck record in MTN.
I sent the email, mentioning a deadline.
The Vodacom and the Cell-C spokesfolks asked me to put my questions in writing and enquired about my deadline.
I emailed them both.
No answer from Cell-C.
But Vodacom replied.
Let me put that another way: Vodacom replied! Yes, children, the tooth fairy exists and human beings are found in cellphone companies.
This is what Vodacom said:
"All Vodacom data bundles have an expiry period of 30 days. For contract customers these run per calendar month while for prepaid customers the bundle is valid for 30 days from date of purchase.
"Thus if you buy a bundle on the 15th of a month, the bundle will 'roll-over' to the next month and expire on the evening of the 14th.
Dot Field, Chief Communications Officer, Vodacom Group."