Zim operators should learn from Vodacom on how to handle airtime disapperances

Vodacom, the biggest MNO in South Africa was recently affected by a billing issue which led to data disappearing and airtime depleting for no reason. Sound familiar? There was an outcry on social media where people were angry.

The Competition Commission in South Africa recently launched an inquiry into data disappearance and high data costs. The Vodacom issue came at the worst time.

What did Vodacom do after all this? They came out clean. They apologised, took responsibility for the issue and promised to refund all those affected. The promise was not empty too as customers are being reimbursed.


People were angry on Twitter especially and so Vodacom went on Twitter and communicated there.

This is how it’s done. Do you remember when we had the same problems here in Zimbabwe? We were made to feel like fools. No one took responsibility and the average person was led to believe it was because of their own ignorance. They cited background data on smartphones as the culprit but some of us knew they had just found a good excuse.

Of course I understand that sometimes ‘disappearing data’ is not really disappearing data but rather smartphones being smartphones. Sometimes though the fault is on the mobile operator’s part and if that’s the case we need to know we will get refunds.

Vodacom may only have responded this way because the issue had affected too many vocal people. If let’s say only 5 people had been affected would they have gotten refunds? We will never know. So back here in Zim when some people complain of disappearing data, do not dismiss it as ignorance on their part. It could be something like this.

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3 thoughts on “Zim operators should learn from Vodacom on how to handle airtime disapperances

  1. Yes I totally agree econet is culprit to this and the excuse give is to restrict background data.Many have moved from econet because of this I being one of those people,it is time they also follow suit from Vodacom and stop stealing our money like really. Econet is bad news especially on this issue and the new one I hear is if you want to buy data for WhatsApp it’s combined with Twitter I don’t use twitter it’s utter rubbish.

  2. Pakaipa. Though not totally correct.
    Vodacom billing system had a problem that’s why they have taken responsibility. I take it one has to take responsibility when they are wrong. Check SA news or even; there are instances before when people complained about disappearing data and the same organisations in SA spoke about background data. This time they were at fault, and it was simple, they acknowledged. Challenge comes when I am wrong and I want to force it upon another person to accept they are the ones who are responsible.

    My experience is SA telcos would never give you $ when they are not at fault. Not sure though if people have been reimbursed for billing errors by Zim Telcos. That way we will be comparing the same stuff.

    1. The problem we have here is that Vodacom only took responsibility because the issue affected a lot of people and many were vocal about it. If that same billing issue had affected only a few people, say 5, they would never have refunded anyone. So Vodacom is no saint as you rightly pointed out. What I’m saying is that it is not every time that they were wrong that they took responsibility. This time they could not deny that they were in the wrong and so it doesn’t follow that every time they are wrong they admit.
      We need our own telcos to be like that even if it is for 1 customer. It is a big ask because they are not used to it. It is a small ask though as that’s how it should always be.

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