Blocking WASPs on mobile networks – Tested

Content subscription services can be a nuisance for mobile users in South Africa, as they are quick to eat through airtime and can be difficult to detect.

There are multiple ways to check if your airtime is being taken by a WASP, but what about blocking them before they can bill you?

Certain mobile providers allow you to block your number from being subscribed to a WASP service, and to see how the systems work, we put them to the test.

We loaded a SIM from Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom with airtime and placed the SIMs into Nokia 5 smartphones.

These devices support LTE and run the latest version of Android.

After loading the airtime, we enabled any anti-WASP settings on the respective networks and tried to get the devices subscribed to a WASP.

The WASP for this test was 35050 Gold, which charges a subscription fee of R5 per day for access to a variety of game, media, and music content.

For each SIM, we attempted to subscribe the number by visiting the 35050 website and entering the SIM’s number into the subscription field.


Telkom

Telkom allows you to block all WASP subscriptions by default – a feature which can be enabled through the Telkom app.

It should be noted that Telkom also requires double opt-in confirmation for all WASP subscriptions.

We downloaded the app, logged into our account and enabled the option to prevent any WASP subscriptions.

To block all content service subscriptions on your Telkom number, navigate to Login > My product > Manage > Protect Your Mobile Number, and set it to ON.

When we tried to register the SIM, the 35050 website returned the following message:

Your number has been blocked for premium subscriptions. Please contact us via webappsupport for further assistance.


Cell C

Cell C also allows users to block all WASP subscriptions by default.

Additionally, Cell C requires double opt-in confirmation for all WASP subscriptions.

Subscribers can dial *133*1# to access the Content Services menu and manage any subscriptions active on their SIM.

They can also select the “Block My Number” option on this USSD menu to prevent their SIM from being subscribed to WASP services.

When we tried to register the Cell C SIM, the 35050 website returned the following message:

Your number has been blocked for premium subscriptions. Please contact us via webappsupport for further assistance.


Vodacom

According to Vodacom, it is possible to block your number from being subscribed to WASP services, but it requires you to visit a branch and fill out a form.

For this test, we checked if the operator’s double opt-in security measure was working.

Double opt-in is enabled by default and is a requirement for all WASP sign-ups on the Vodacom network.

After signing up for the 35050 Gold service with our Vodacom number, we received the following SMS on the device:

Confirm your request for 35050 Gold @ R5.00 /day. Reply “Yes” to confirm/”No” to cancel, free SMS.


MTN

MTN offers no way for subscribers to block their numbers from WASP subscriptions.

Instead, it relies on its default double opt-in security measures to protect customers from accidental or fraudulent WASP sign-ups.

This is enabled by default on the MTN network.

After signing up for 35050 Gold on the MTN SIM, we received the following confirmation request via SMS:

Reply YES or NO to confirm your request for 35050 Gold Unlimited Downloads from Buongiorno at R5.00 Daily. To unsubscribe dial *136*5#.


Now read: We stand by our word and will help customers with WASP refunds – Vodacom

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Blocking WASPs on mobile networks – Tested