MTN disappearing airtime – Check your balance

An MTN customer contacted MyBroadband after noticing that his airtime balance was slowly decreasing despite having an active data bundle.

The customer had an MTN prepaid SIM and used Afrihost’s APN for mobile data, meaning he purchased data bundles from Air Mobile (previously Afrihost Mobile) while still buying voice and SMS bundles from MTN.

After noticing that his airtime balance was decreasing slowly over time, the customer began recording his MTN airtime, voice, and SMS bundle balances to determine the extent of the “disappearing airtime”.

The customer’s prepaid SIM was ported onto the MTN network in 2016 and is configured to connect to the Afrihost APN for mobile data.

Throughout the test, the customer maintained a positive data balance in their Afrihost account, meaning the MTN airtime balance could not be affected by any out-of-bundle mobile data usage.

Airtime depletion

On 10 December 2019, the customer purchased 1,500 all-net, anytime minutes from MTN, leaving him with a remaining airtime balance of R160.32.

He recorded the following balances on this date, as reflected in MTN’s USSD menu:

  • Airtime – R160.32
  • Anytime Minutes – 1,419
  • SMS – 11
  • Data – 0MB (Positive data balance on Afrihost)

The customer then began to use his device as normal, monitoring his airtime balance and ensuring he did not deplete any of the bundles.

He recorded the following airtime balances on the dates below, noting a steady decline:

  • 10 December – R160.32
  • 13 December – R159.82
  • 19 December – R159.32

The customer said that since 19 December, his airtime balance has remained stable up to the time of writing.

According to his tests, the customer’s airtime balance decreased at a rate of around R0.10 per day, resulting in a total loss of R1.00 over the test period.

This was despite out-of-bundle data usage not being active and his voice, data, and SMS bundles all reflecting a positive balance.

It is unclear what caused this phenomenon or whether it is affecting other customers, but MTN customers with a similar configuration should check their airtime balance to determine whether they are experiencing the same slow decline.

MTN disappearing airtime screenshot

MTN responds

MTN told MyBroadband that it was investigating the affected user’s problem to determine the cause of the disappearing airtime.

“We are currently investigating his matter and we’ll provide further updates once we have established the cause of [the customer’s] airtime depletion,” the company said.

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MTN disappearing airtime – Check your balance