Many mobile subscribers in South Africa are complaining about disappearing airtime, and the reason may be that you are subscribed to a content service without knowing it.
Rogue wireless application service providers (WASPs) secretly subscribe thousands of cellular users to their content subscription services every month.
This is possible because the mobile operators supply WASPs with the ability to bill subscribers’ accounts for services, which often happens without the consent of the subscriber.
By default, South African SIM cards are open to WASP billing and it is up to subscribers to check their cellphone account to see if they are the victim of rogue WASPs.
Victim of a rogue WASP
Audit manager Cameron Modisane recently fell victim to a rogue WASP and shared his experience on social media.
Modisane said he discovered that he was signed up for a “content service” which he knew nothing about and did not subscribe to.
“I discovered this when I was checking the invoice that they sent me. They were charging me about R100 a month,” said Modisane.
He showed his Cell C bill, which included the R107.01 content subscription which he said he did not consent to.
Check your cellphone bill now
Modisane’s experience highlighted the importance of regularly checking your cellphone bill to ensure you are not unknowingly subscribed to a content service.
Here is how to check if you are subscribed to a content service on Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom.
How to cancel a content service: Vodacom customers can check whether they are subscribed to any content services or WASP services by dialling *111# USSD and choosing Option 8 (Services), then clicking Option 11 (Next), then Option 2 (Content Services), and then Option 1 (View and Stop Content Services).
How to check your bill: The specific content service will be specified on the customer’s bill. For example, Vlive shows up as Vlive on the customer’s bill.
How to stop all WASP subscriptions: SMS “Stop All” to 31050.
How to cancel a content service: MTN has introduced a single USSD, *155#, which assists its customers to manage their subscription services. Dial *155#, then choose option 1 (view and unsubscribe), then choose option 1 (Cancel all) or choose option 2 to view individual subscription services and thereafter cancel them.
How to check your bill: Contract customers can search for a line item called “Content Charges” on their monthly itemized bill.
How to stop all WASP subscriptions: MTN customers can stop or manage their subscription services by dialling *155#, selecting option 2 (Set Subscription Services limit) and then option 2 (Block all future charges) again to ensure that no subscription services will be billed against the customers account.
How to cancel a content service: Cell C said its customers can dial *133*1# to cancel any active subscriptions. They can also contact the customer care centre and they will log a query with the Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) who will request the verification details of the subscription from the content provider in question.
How to check your bill: Cell C subscribers can see content subscriptions on their invoice under call charges where there is a line item called “Content Services”. An example is provided below.
How to stop all WASP subscriptions: Customers can dial *133*1# to cancel any active subscriptions.
How to cancel a content service: Telkom subscribers can view subscriptions via the Telkom App by navigating to Products > Subscriptions > Content services. They can also phone the Telkom call centre to find out what services they are subscribed to.
How to check your bill: There is a line item on subscribers’ Telkom bills called “Content/WASP Services” which has the following details: Date, Time, Data consumption, Rate, Wasp Name and Content Description. An example is provided below.
How to stop all WASP subscriptions: Contact the Telkom call centre to unsubscribe or load Block Content Service on your number.