During the course of an investigation conducted by MyBroadband into fraudulent subscriptions to MTN WASP services, the mobile operator provided feedback regarding its content services.
MTN said that these content services should remain accessible to its customers, and the number of fraudulent subscriptions should be limited as much as possible.
“We believe a balance needs to be struck between offering customers ease of access to genuine and value-adding content, while still providing the necessary security protocols – hence the many steps MTN has taken to achieve this,” MTN told MyBroadband.
Fraudulent WASPs target millions of Vodacom and MTN customers, with operators refusing to block all subscriptions by default due to the amount of money brought in by this scheme.
There is also little reason why a Vodacom or MTN customer should sign up to these WASP services instead of using various free services available on the Internet.
We’ve compared some of the WASP services available from MTN and Vodacom with standard services available on the Internet to determine whether it is worth it to subscribe to a WASP.
Finding actual services offered by Vodacom and MTN among the variety of “entertainment” platforms is difficult; however, they do exist.
This doesn’t mean that it is worth subscribing to them, though.
For example, one of the WASPs offered by Vodacom is Look 4 Me, a service that allows loved ones to locate your device as long as they have your consent.
The service is priced at R11.70 per month and will not work if the person being located has an LTE-enabled smartphone.
While this might be helpful, there are various app-based security options that can provide live location updates, and apps such as WhatsApp and Uber allow users to share their location with loved ones for a predefined period of time.
This is both easier to use and free, and allows users to track their loved ones through an interactive map instead of a USSD menu, even if their LTE is enabled.
Music and entertainment
When it comes to fraudulent WASP subscriptions, most issues reported to MyBroadband centre around MTN’s content services.
These include its Fantasy League WASP, as well as other platforms like its Music+ platform.
MTN’s Fantasy League content service allows users to pick five Premier League football players and play for R1,000 airtime at a cost of R3.50 per day.
Without even considering the monthly cost of R108.50 required to play this game, most online fantasy football portals offer a much greater experience with regards to gameplay.
MTN’s Music+ service has a similar problem – it has an archaic interface accessed through an unsecured website or mobile app, a disappointing library of songs, and a predatory subscription model.
MTN Music+ is priced at R100 per month, which is far more expensive than streaming platforms like Spotify, Google Play Music, or Apple Music.
Alerts and video
Two more types of content services offered by these mobile operators, which could be replaced with better free alternatives, include video streaming and alerts.
Vodacom offers customers a variety of alert-based services that provide daily life tips, jokes, or other information for R2 per day.
Of course, the cheaper and superior option to this is to visit websites like Reddit or other forums on the Internet that have sections devoted to specific subjects.
Lastly, both Vodacom and MTN offer video streaming platforms that charge regular subscription fees and offer videos from specific categories.
The diversity and attractiveness of these video collections pale in comparison to the wealth of free videos on YouTube, meaning there is no reason for users to subscribe to these platforms.