We tested out-of-bundle notifications and our airtime got destroyed

Out-of-bundle (OOB) data charges can quickly deplete your airtime, especially if you don’t realise your data allocation is depleted.

Telkom is the only local network to automatically prevent subscribers from going out of bundle once they finish their data bundle.

MTN, Vodacom, and Cell C have decided against implementing a similar system.

The networks said they warn users when their data bundle has reached certain usage limits, however, sending SMS notifications to subscribers.

This is aimed at helping users not go out of bundle.

The test

To see how effective the notification systems are, we put MTN, Vodacom, and Cell C to the test.

We put a prepaid SIM from each network in a Motorola Moto Z, loaded a data bundle and airtime, opened the YouTube app, and watched a video.

When we received an OOB notification from the provider, we immediately turned on “Airplane Mode” to prevent further mobile data or airtime usage.

We then closed YouTube and connected to a Wi-Fi network, after which we checked our airtime balance via the respective USSD menu.

This aims to represent what would happen in real-world usage conditions.


MTN

We purchased a 100MB data bundle and had just over R10 airtime for the first test.

MTN delivered a single SMS notification, for the depletion of the data bundle, during our test.

Mobile data access was switched off immediately after the notification was received, but our airtime was depleted due to out-of-bundle data charges.

MTN charges R0.99 per MB for out-of-bundle data.

Start

  • Airtime – R10.98
  • Data – 100MB

End

  • Airtime – R0.00
  • Data – 0MB

MTN logo yellow


Cell C

We purchased a 100MB data bundle and had just under R10 airtime for the Cell C test.

A single SMS notification was received, stating that mobile data had been depleted and out-of-bundle charges were being incurred.

Upon receiving this message, mobile data was turned off. The USSD menu reflected an airtime balance of R2.51, with over R7 in out-of-bundle usage.

Cell C charges R0.15/MB for out-of-bundle data.

Start

  • Airtime – R9.97
  • Data – 100MB

End

  • Airtime – R2.51
  • Data – 0MB

cell-c-new-logo


Vodacom

We purchased a 100MB data bundle for the Vodacom test and had just under R10 of “normal” airtime, along with R9 of “extra” airtime.

No SMS notification was received in our test, and all of our data and airtime was subsequently used.

The test was stopped when the device lost its Internet connection. We waited for 15 minutes after the disconnection, but did not receive an SMS notification.

Vodacom charges R0.99/MB for out-of-bundle data.

Start

  • Airtime – R9.96
  • Extra Airtime – R9.00
  • Data – 100MB

End

  • Airtime – R0.00
  • Extra Airtime – R0.00
  • Data – 0MB

Vodacom redesigned branding


Now read: You should get your out-of-bundle data notification straight away

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We tested out-of-bundle notifications and our airtime got destroyed