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OneFusion Customers Angry Over Depleting Airtime. NetOne Blames Facebook, Continues To Advertise & Sell Faulty Product

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Over the past several days, NetOne customers have been complaining bitterly about how the once popular OneFusion mobile broadband bundle has been a huge letdown. Data is depleting quickly. Disappearing some say. Pictures and videos on Facebook and WhatsApp won’t load.

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The complaining has been happening on social media mostly; WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter.

NetOne says it can’t do anything about it at the moment. It’s Facebook’s fault, the company keeps telling customers mechanically. Apparently, Facebook made some changes to the WhatsApp and Facebooks apps, and those changes have compromised the OneFusion bundle.

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Here’s the NetOne message:

Good day <Customer>,

We sincerely apologize for the failure to download or playback media on Facebook (or WhatsApp) using the social media bundle. Just to put you into perspective, Facebook, who are also the owners of WhatsApp, have made some critical changes to their new mobile app to the extent that while content (video, image or audio) may appear to be residing on the Facebook or WhatsApp, it is in actual fact saved on Google or Amazon cloud services.

This we discovered through preliminary investigations carried out by our technical team in conjunction with our other partners. That said, the effect of such file architecture is that while in our system we only configured the IPs provided by Facebook as whitelist, IPs from Google and Amazon to which such download sessions are being redirected are not, thus, making them inaccessible unless you have pure data or real money on your account.

Put simply, when you try to access the media file you are being redirected to either Google or Amazon cloud services and the only way to download the media is have real data on your phone. The complexity of the matter is that these IPs change all the time, making it very complex for us to come up with a long term solution to the issue. In that regard, we really appeal for your patience while a more sustainable solution is being worked out. Once again we apologize for the inconvenience caused by this development.”

But customers won’t have it. Especially because NetOne is basically sending this complicated message to anyone that enquires without bothering (at least based on what we see on Facebook) to engage each customer individually who has been affected.

One Fusion Bundles Complaint
Angry Netone Customers complain about OneFusion bundles. Click image to open on Facebook

What is really surprising and frustrating to customers is that, even with the full knowledge of the product being faulty due to the claimed changes, NetOne continues to advertise and sell OneFusion bundles. It’s as if NetOne management feels it’s enough to apologise, explain the problem, do nothing to fix while continuing to take the money. It’s not just NetOne that’s failing its customers. The regulator too, is failing.

What NetOne’s message basically says is that Facebook and WhatsApp content is now served from Google and Amazon servers and that their Deep Packet Inspection tools used to meter data based on the bundle bought, have been rendered useless.

On the surface, it’s surprising that so that it looks like NetOne’s the only company affected by this change. The reason could, of course, be that Telcel and Econet do not use the same vendor that NetOne uses. If that’s the case, NetOne needs to find a new vendor pronto.

This is a huge problem for the company and NetOne risks losing customers it has worked so hard to get (with little benefit to their bottom line so far). It would really be great and NetOne would gain some points with customers if they at the very least did the following:

  • Do an airtime refund to everyone who bought a OneFusion Bundle in the last 30 days
  • Stop selling the OneFusion bundle
  • Stop advertising OneFusion
  • Issue a simpler explanation of what is going on and circulate it widely in press statements

For its part, the regulator, POTRAZ, needs to intervene. When there’s a public outcry like this POTRAZ needs to start an investigation instead of waiting for individual customers to formally write letters of complaint. In such situations, even a regulatory fine should be considered to deter MNO from such practices.

NetOneWhatsAppPOTRAZ

NetOne Zimbabwe was the first mobile phone operator in Zimbabwe, the company was launched in 1996. The company is a privately owned company in which the Zimbabwe government has a stake and was formed as a subsidiary of the Posts and Telecommunications. Corporation (PTC). Service... Read More About NetOne

WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows mobile phone users to exchange messages without having to pay for Short Message Services costs. WhatsApp Messenger application is compatible with different mobile phone models such as iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia. The... Read More About WhatsApp

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe POTRAZ) is the regulatory authority of Zimbabwe's telecommunications sector and was established in terms of the country's Postal and Telecommunications Act Chapter 12:05. POTRAZ was established in February 2001 Read More About POTRAZ

10 thoughts on “OneFusion Customers Angry Over Depleting Airtime. NetOne Blames Facebook, Continues To Advertise & Sell Faulty Product

  1. Billing platform nightmares. Econet used to that too about 5 months ago. I had stopped using Econet bundles because you could buy $5 airtime just before going to sleep and then buy $1 bundle for instance. In the morning when you get up you find both the bundles and the airtime gone… A few changes on the handset settings seems to have fixed that problem though.

  2. Wby cant they also introduce out of bundle and in bundle browsing like econet. Ucant keep real airtime on yo fone without being depleted even if u close many apps the os will chew it down.

  3. Thank you TechZim for addressing this issue.

    I was anxiously waiting for you to do so, since the December debacle that occurred with OneFusion bundle.

    Customers complained then as well, and compensations were promised though a majority haven’t yet received, hoping that TechZim would publish something on the situation.

    Thank you so much.

  4. Beyond is in a corner to produce revenues hence the need to adjust the price, quantity and QoS which is the billing&throughput of all there offerings. The biggest impact on there data tariff and QoS is One Fusion so what’s happening now is trying to test the waters to see how people would respond given that there application to POTRAZ to have there data reviewed downwards was declined so claiming a technical default would be a good reason for them to get that approval to adjust but at the expense of the customers.

  5. Is it impossible to do bundling/whitelisting of cloud based services using IP addresses effectively. They should be using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology which uses app/traffic signatures, not destination IPs. It’s expensive but they are screwed without it.

  6. If they were really using DPI.. Changing web hosts wouldn’t change the protocol signatures..

    All that changes with the host change is the IP’s, and ASN’s. TL;DR; its unlikely they’re using DPI if changing hosts caused the whitelisting to fail.

    1. For such content prioritisation DPI is the only way, but it has limitations when we introduce SSL into the mix, thats why you have to add whitelisting of IPs, protocol is still Http and https. So protocol alone wont work either,

  7. I think POTRAZ is the main culprit here. What are they regulating when we the customers/victims of these MNO’s suffer month after month. Not even a single statement from them on the plight of the customer. Why do they take money in the form of licenses etc? Are these licences giving MNO’s the right to fleece us of our hard earned money? Why do they drive these fancy cars and have these lavish lifestyles when us the people they are supposed to be working for are disgruntled all the time? Is POTRAZ powerless to act because NETONE is government affiliated?

  8. I’m surprised some people are expecting “some action” from Potraz, forget it, they’re in the blind…..busy spending big bucks they don’t deserve to be earning.

  9. We want back 300data, 700whatsapp, 900facebook, 60mins net to net, 18offnet, 10sms otherwise we will leave Beyonce for good

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