Out-of-bundle data usage can cause a serious drain on your finances.
Despite mobile providers implementing various measures to help prevent out-of-bundle usage, users are still caught out on a regular basis.
As OOB data charges are much higher than in-bundle rates, they can be a major source of frustration for smartphone users.
Telkom is the only local network to automatically prevent subscribers going out of bundle once they have depleted their data bundle, with the other major networks deciding against implementing a similar system.
Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C said they warn users when their data bundle has reached certain usage limits, sending an SMS to subscribers.
However, if a user does not receive the data-usage notification in a timeous manner, it is possible they will unknowingly eat into their airtime.
We asked MTN, Vodacom, and Cell C how their data monitoring systems work, and how quickly users are notified once their data bundle is depleted.
MTN subscribers are notified via SMS when their data bundle is at 50%, 90%, and 100% depletion, it said.
The company said the system checks the subscriber’s data balance at these intervals, and notifications should be received immediately by a user.
MTN said in some instances, the data depletion notification is received within 15 minutes of the data bundle being used up.
Vodacom’s billing system monitors data usage and once defined notification thresholds are triggered, the system sends a message to the customer via SMS and USSD prompts.
The company said its data monitoring is continuous and in real-time.
Vodacom said that once its data monitoring system triggers a bundle depletion message via SMS or push USSD, it should reach the customer in seconds.
Data bundle depletion messages are sent by an online charging system which manages Cell C subscriber balances.
The provider said a data depletion notification is triggered in real-time as soon as the data bundle is depleted, and an SMS is then sent.
Cell C said its data bundle depletion notifications are delivered in real-time thanks to the company’s online charging system.