30 Day Expiry Date for Data Bundles.

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RazedInBlack

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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.

No answer.

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."
 

vodacom3g

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We've actually discussed this on this forum at length and anyone who understands the difference between bits/second and a fixed amount of bytes will understand it.

In a sense, I find it worrisome that a journalist at a technical publication does not understand this.

I'm amazed that people don't understand why there is roll-over, at least the technically minded ones. It's all about how Telkom sells bandwidth to the mobile operators, who then sells it as fixed data bundles to end users. The conversion from bits/second (as supplied by Telkom) to a fixed number of bytes (what you bought), requires a time component to set a price. It could be anything, from 1 day to 1 year, but the cost per byte would go the longer the bundle lifespan. 30 days seems to be the industry standard around the world.
 
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spiderz

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The thing is that if you're a PrePaid user, your data get converted to a 30 day contract. The Data does not stay prepaid like you're airtime.
It just feels kinda unfair. :(

I can tell you one thing, the first operater to do actuall prepaid data, is gonna get ALL my cellular services.
 

vodacom3g

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The thing is that if you're a PrePaid user, your data get converted to a 30 day contract. The Data does not stay prepaid like you're airtime.
It just feels kinda unfair. :(

I can tell you one thing, the first operater to do actuall prepaid data, is gonna get ALL my cellular services.

The data is actually 'pre-paid' as you describe it.

But the moment you buy a bundle (to get a reduced price), there is a time component. If you don't need a time component, don't convert into a bundle.

Don't confuse recharge with data bundles (I think this is what you might be doing).

So there are two ways you can get data on 'pre-paid':

1) You recharge your account with an amount and use the data at the OOB rate. You have no time limit in which to use the data.

2) You recharge your account with an amount and (to get a better price) commit to a fixed amount of data within a fixed amount of time.

In both cases the costing to deliver he service is calculated using the time and usage parameters. It would be easy to increase the time period in option 2, but the price will then increase.

If we had to look at pricing, would you rather see a reduction in price or an increase in bundle lifetime?
 

moklet

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How come adsl isp's can offer prepaid data with rollover but cell companies can't (does telkomn sell them something different ???)
 

Pilgrim

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vodacom3g, I had a look at the forums and cannot find the answer to this question. Can you please point me at the correct thread or restate it in this one please?
 

spiderz

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Both.

ADSL is only R70 per Gb international. (WebAfrica PrePaid)

3G/GRPS cost:
OOB Rates (your "prepaid" option) R2/Mb = R2000 per Gb
1Gb Data Bundel = R289

Another quirk about the data bundels is that once you run out of your bundel, the company just continues to charge you at the OOB rate. No warning, nothing!
 

vodacom3g

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Both.

ADSL is only R70 per Gb international. (WebAfrica PrePaid)

3G/GRPS cost:
OOB Rates (your "prepaid" option) R2/Mb = R2000 per Gb
1Gb Data Bundel = R289

Another quirk about the data bundels is that once you run out of your bundel, the company just continues to charge you at the OOB rate. No warning, nothing!

You're not getting the notification SMS's?
 

Sherbang

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We've actually discussed this on this forum at length and anyone who understands the difference between bits/second and a fixed amount of bytes will understand it.

In a sense, I find it worrisome that a journalist at a technical publication does not understand this.

I find it worrisome that no-one at any of the networks was able to explain it to him (or the rest of us) Perhaps no-one except v3g understands it...
 

RazedInBlack

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We've actually discussed this on this forum at length and anyone who understands . . . .



topic will probably come up again in the future . . . and again . . . and again . . . because all three cellular operators still haven't gien us a proper answer.
 

vodacom3g

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I find it worrisome that no-one at any of the networks was able to explain it to him (or the rest of us) Perhaps no-one except v3g understands it...

I actually wrote a response for that specific request, explaining it, but I see it's not in the bit published. Only the first paragraph was published.

Maybe someone thought the explanation was too complex and removed it. Not sure.
 

Jabberwocky

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You're not getting the notification SMS's?

Yes they send notification sms's i got one yesterday telling me my account is at R600. the previous one i got the previous day said it was R370(contract amount)

Like mbeki's resignation, it happens too late. They must just stop it when you reach the cap, and let you buy additional ad-hoc bundles.
 

vodacom3g

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Yes they send notification sms's i got one yesterday telling me my account is at R600. the previous one i got the previous day said it was R370(contract amount)

Like mbeki's resignation, it happens too late. They must just stop it when you reach the cap, and let you buy additional ad-hoc bundles.

No, you should get notification SMS's when you're at 80%, 100%, etc. of your data bundle.

Are you on pre-paid or contract?

Which SP?
 

Jabberwocky

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No, you should get notification SMS's when you're at 80%, 100%, etc. of your data bundle.

Are you on pre-paid or contract?

Which SP?

Vodacom contract. After i removed itemised billing, and added hsdpa at vodacom4me it doesnt sms me the percentage. only the amount.
 

vodacom3g

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Vodacom contract. After i removed itemised billing, and added hsdpa at vodacom4me it doesnt sms me the percentage. only the amount.

That's a different system. The %-used is a separate set of SMS's.

I'm not aware that detailed billing is a pre-req. Maybe call 155 and get them to check if your configuration is not screwed up.
 
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Hosehead

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I find it worrisome that no-one at any of the networks was able to explain it to him (or the rest of us) Perhaps no-one except v3g understands it...

If it helps any, few, if any, salespeople within the Networks actually *understand* the data products that their company sells themselves. For all their marketing efforts, especially, and, I'll make an example of this, Vodacom 3G, launching Vodacom Business with an expensive stand at Africa Aerospace and Defense 2008 has two rather distracted Staff and when I asked pointed questions re: Type of modems and recharging Data bundles
The Staff were absolutely clueless.
 

vodacom3g

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If it helps any, few, if any, salespeople within the Networks actually *understand* the data products that their company sells themselves. For all their marketing efforts, especially, and, I'll make an example of this, Vodacom 3G, launching Vodacom Business with an expensive stand at Africa Aerospace and Defense 2008 has two rather distracted Staff and when I asked pointed questions re: Type of modems and recharging Data bundles
The Staff were absolutely clueless.

Nothing as dangerous as untrained sales people. Rather have none on the stand, in the first place.

I've passed your comments on, BTW.
 

barrybecke

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Telkom prepaid expires at the end of the month following the month in which you purchase your bundle. That means that if you purchase on the 1st of month 1 you get service till the end of month 2. ie 60 days
 
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