Mir Moiz’s Weblog

Life is meaningful, only when one wishes to make it. We are creatures of time and we’ll wither away in it. The little moments of joy we find and create are all that will live with us.

Archive for TELECOM

Data Bundles and the Million Dollar Heist

There is one side to telecommunications that is a bit repulsive and debasing. It is these companies practices in billing with how the rules are defined, intended to create waste for consumers rather than justifiably give its consumers reason for expense.

In an industry that is totally computerized the ability to set precise rules is not just an asset of gains and productivity but also a classic weapon of theft that is hard to detect for the silent onlooker.

I have come across this practice in Pakistan and Tanzania with Mobilink, Telenor, Vodacom and Tigo.
It is yet to be determined if its also happening with these companies outside of the developing nations and also in the developed ones in Europe and Americas.

This is how it’s being done.
Most every user of pre-paid or post-paid connection would utilize their credits with prudence and watch their billing.
Due to the need for data connectivity required to run apps on phones which again a very large portion of people utilize from users of Nokia smart phones, Blackberries to iPhones, the users have to enable data services with the provider.

Now these tricksters have played a massive trick on the ordinary people.

Instead of keeping the default data service on the phone low grade and free and asking people to buy daily, weekly or monthly packages or in some cases giving volume-based packages the companies are keeping the default service high grade and high priced while keeping the packages very low priced.
They market the low priced bundles to the general public saying they could avail it for a day or a week or upon small and large volumes.

When a user subscribes to a bundle of this nature the user gets an intimation text saying the package has activated yet when the package completes they do not intimate the user till the entire pre-paid credit is lost due to the high charged default Internet being utilized without consent or the user becomes aware and turns off his data roaming in the phone or subscribes to a new package without intimation from the phone company. The moment the data service is turned off or the new package is subscribed the old intimation text for the closure of the bundle comes to fulfill a formality.

Now let’s see how this simple act is causing millions in dollars of rotten profitability for these companies.

Assuming for a prepaid client a balance of 1 dollar was lost in this way. Considering the most simplest data enabled phones and the number of people utilizing data on phone it’s safe to assume that there are 40% users of the entire pool of users for one company.
The safely assumed number of subscribers for these companies go into around 10 to 20 million in Pakistan and around 10 million in Tanzania. Forgoing the actuals that I believe certainly are far far higher due to the increased levels of cellular penetration across the world.

40% of say 10 million is 4 million. Now if they subscribed for a data package and experienced this issue.
Safely assuming, around 4 million dollars a day are the losses the users collectively incurred where around a dollar each was lost.

Let me say that again for definition: 4 million dollars a day.

That means 4×30=120 million dollars a month. (Assumed)

How many criminals will be able to pull that kind of money off people or from a bank!

Now because this happens as an isolated event. People are oblivious to this despicable practice.

Now evaluate how much they would have benefited over these past few years, assuming my figures are shy of the actuals!!!


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