MTN promised to stop “disappearing airtime” – We tested its claim

MyBroadband recently conducted tests which showed MTN SIMs in a Samsung Galaxy S7 and Huawei P8 consuming airtime while connected to its LTE network.

This was despite mobile data usage being turned off in Android, and the devices being connected to an Internet-connected Wi-Fi connection.

The tests showed that the airtime balances on the MTN SIMs connected to an LTE network, but not using mobile data according to Android’s data-monitoring tool, steadily depleted over the course of several days.

MTN stated that the data traffic used by the devices was valid data traffic, but it would implement measures to address the scenario where “a user disables mobile data and remains connected to the network via the LTE technology” and mobile data is consumed.

It added that the data usage was not control plane traffic – which was the suspect when competing networks were asked for comment on the matter.

It said the move would align it with the rest of the industry and prevent the airtime depletion phenomenon on its LTE network from continuing.

Following MTN’s promise, MyBroadband placed an LTE-enabled MTN SIM into a Huawei P8 to see if its airtime balance would remain untouched.

The test

After loading the SIM with airtime, we noted the airtime balance as R8.98 on 7 August.

We then set the device up in multiple configurations, changing its settings to determine whether the airtime balance was decreasing. The airtime balance of the SIM was checked at regular intervals during the test.

The following results were observed from 7-10 August:

  • Mobile data off and active Wi-Fi connection – The airtime balance did not decrease.
  • Mobile data on and and active Wi-Fi connection – The airtime balance did not decrease.
  • Phone powered off and left off – The airtime balance did not decrease.

The airtime balance on 10 August 2017 reflected the original amount of R8.98.

It must be noted that the MTN SIM and Huawei P8 were the same pair used in the previous tests which resulted in airtime decreasing.

It must also be noted that MTN was not given the cellphone number of the SIM or any identifying information about the Huawei P8.

Now read: Mobile data which does not just expire – What Vodacom and MTN have to say

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MTN promised to stop “disappearing airtime” – We tested its claim