NetOne is suspending customers that they suspect to have hacked their internet using VPNs. Now just to clear things up, the use of a VPN isn’t illegal. They are applications that a number of people have had to use from time to time. Well, mainly when the government shut down the internet.
Using a VPN for anything beyond what it isn’t intended for will most certainly find yourself in trouble with your mobile service provider. One of the ways that some misuse VPNs is for free data (the most popular one for free data is DroidVPN). A couple of months ago we put out a video all about the subject of VPNs in general, and the infamous DroidVPN.
So what does this have to do with NetOne suspending customers?
We received a tip-off from someone who said that they had their data suspended by NetOne for using a VPN:
We reached out to our sources at NetOne and they said they don’t suspend data for anyone using a VPN. NetOne does, however, suspend data for customers who’s internet activity is flagged as suspicious by their systems. So if a customer uses up NetOne’s bandwidth with an illegal VPN workaround to access free data. Then that customer will have their data access suspended.
NetOne is well within its rights to suspend the data of people who use VPNs like DroidVPN to access free data.
There have also been reports of customers who are using VPNs for their intended purpose and are getting caught in the net. On the 31st of July when we all suspected that there might some sort of internet shutdown. Many people would have downloaded a VPN if there was a partial shutdown of the internet. There was an even greater incentive to this when TunnelBear VPN came in. The VPN service, at the time, offered Zimbabweans 10 GB of usage access on their platform.
The unfortunate result of all of this is that some customers may not know why their data suddenly stopped working. They may have been using a VPN correctly and their activity may have been false flagged.
A possible way to avoid suspending data for customers who are within bounds would be to send some sort of warning message. Notifying customers that NetOne has detected some unusual activity will help those in clear to clarify their position. It would also deter those who may have been abusing NetOne’s services.
If NetOne has suspended your data, what can be done?
In either case (proper or improper use of a VPN), the only route to resolve this is to call customer services (123). For customers who are in the clear, this is an unnecessary hassle. But it’s worth noting that NetOne is just trying to stop the leak and the hope is that they find a way to fine-tune this process.