Blocking WASPs at a network level – Mobile operators respond

WASPs – wireless application service providers – can be a real nuisance for consumers.

MyBroadband has received multiple complaints over the years regarding WASPs, and our articles on how to prevent losing money to a WASP are always very popular.

WASPs in South Africa are overseen by an organisation called WASPA, which aims to ensure the industry is run to high standards and above board.

Part of WASPA’s work sees the association publishing an application block list.

The list contains the names of domains where fraud is occurring in terms of content services.

The high-risk domains are sent to industry players – including mobile network operators – and WASPA members are required to block the listed applications.

A potential way to protect consumers from these harmful domains is for mobile networks to block traffic to them – so we asked the major networks what their stance on the WASPA list is.

Cell C

Cell C said it receives the WASPA “high-risk” list and blocks domains and applications accordingly.

The number of domains blocked on a monthly basis depends on the list WASPA sends it, as well other domains it identifies as potentially harmful.

Cell C logo on phone


Vodacom said it also receives the list from WASPA.

“Vodacom has a zero-tolerance approach to any type of illegal activity that happens on our network,” it said.

“We have previously suspended and terminated the services of WASPs and their affiliate content aggregators, and will continue to investigate reported transgressions and take appropriate action.”

Vodacom added that it will soon introduce a new anti-fraud solution “capable of automatically identifying, blocking, and monitoring malware and fraudulent applications”.

“To unsubscribe from a WASP service, customers can send an SMS with the words Stop All to 31050,” said Vodacom.

Vodacom logo


MTN said it works with third-party services and WASPA when it comes to WASP services.

“MTN takes consumer protection and unscrupulous billing extremely seriously,” said MTN.

“We are currently in the process of developing a permanent solution for WASPs and related issues – however, this is still in the testing phase and will be operational in the next few months.”

“Should any third party be found guilty of any unauthorised billing, necessary measures will be taken against that service or company, including possible suspension on the MTN network.”

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Telkom said it does receive the list from WASPA, and has worked with it on a fraud prevention workshop.

The company added that it has a double-opt-in process for WASPs to ensure that clients are aware of when they purchase a service from their smartphone.

“This process also ensures that no subscriber is automatically subscribed to an unwanted WASP,” said Telkom.

Telkom said it has revised its contracts with WASPs, which is aimed at implementing new business rules “designed to prevent fraud over this platform”.

“These new contracts will become effective from 1 April 2018.”

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Now read: The R21,729 difference between in-bundle and OOB data prices

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Blocking WASPs at a network level – Mobile operators respond