Dear Editor,

Why should data bundles and airtime expire?

May I ventilate my concerns regarding the limited validity of data bundles and related pre-paid services. How is it that when we pay for water or electricity prepaid services, we enjoy the services we pay for until the units purchased are exhausted. Not so with internet bundles and airtime. Why?

Is technology stuck somewhere such that it’s impossible to let data last as long as it is not used? Or is this playing well to the vantage of service providers at the expense of the clientele?

I find a similar anomaly with Pay TV in which case we pay for what we do not need or benefit from. For instance, on Multichoice Zambia’s Dstv Compact Plus bouquet,my family and I watch about 10 channels out of the hordes of channels in that bouquet. Moreover, the bouquet includes channels with languages we cannot even understand.

To show that we really pay for what we do not need, our screen is awash with advertisements targeting audiences in Nigeria and South Africa. Is this fair even by standards of advertising? Essentially, we even pay to watch advertisements about all sorts of products such as insurance offered South Africa.

How would do we benefit from data packages available in Nigeria? We see those advertisements with data packages in Nira (Nigeria’s Currency).

Another area where we are not getting value for our money is PAY-TV particularly Multichoice Zambia’s Dstv Bouquets. Apart from the odds identified above, Dstv subscription does not take into consideration the fact that we may not have signal or we may have traveled out or there is no power as is the case now upto 12 hours continuously in a single day as it happened in Meanwood Ndeke in Lusaka on Friday 30 August 2019. Our subscription simply falls through at the end of the subscription period regardless of whether or not one watched anything. Clearly, most people are not getting value for their money – literally paying for nothing and for all fairness, it is imperative that this be rectified.

Service providers should ensure that internet data and airtime last as long as it is not used.

Similarly, Pay – TV should only charge per actual hours of viewing and allow their customers to choose which exact channels to pay for. For instance , one may prefer Bundesliga to Italian League – Serie A. Therefore give such an individual an option between SS8 which is dedicated to Serie A and a channel that beams the Bundesliga assuming that it exists. The whole issue of packaging bouquets should be tailor made to suit a client’s preferences to the extent possible.

May be Consumer Affairs should intervene.

By Chalusa Elarm

[Read 3,530 times, 4 reads today]
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26 COMMENTS

    • They expire because the cost is discounted. You can choose between expensive non expiring bundles and cheap expiring ones.

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    • That’s how it works everywhere. It’s even worse in North America because most people are bound by two to three year contracts.

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  1. Very good points, hope those whose duty it is have taken note of the concern raised.
    Except everything one brings becomes political!!!

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    • In South Africa bundles never expire until you use all of them. The guy who says they are discounted is not correct. We pay for value.

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  2. Service providers have a huge fixed cost which is passed on to customers.

    On the other hand if yu travel out, do you asked for a refund from landloard

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  3. I agree with most of your points. I am having a problem with zamtel Internet on. I pay for 1 month subs and so many times in a month it doesn’t work but exactly after 30 days it expires. Which is unfair. You want to charget the full amount for the month but want to provide substandard service. Where in the world have you seen this. Come on jack up.

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    • on that one you have the right to claim for refund , they agreed to provide you with 24 x7 internet but they failed. possibly visit consumer protection

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  4. Awe ba Betters naimwe. So in your twisted opinion whenever we report for work it means we have shifted and the landlord should not claim rentals. Kikiki! Twisted thinking.
    The writer has a point here lets support the idea and someone will listen and makes things better for all of us. In my case I only have 5 relevant channels I can watch on my DSTV but I am forced to pay for over 45 channels. This does not make sense to me too. Why cant I just pay for only those 5 and forget about the rest.
    Disaster!!!

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    • These services have become affordable because service providers have grumbled with expiry and finishing to cover their fixed cost. otherwise its very easy.. they can simply charge you 800 for 5 GB, they are here to make profit and not exactly social welfare

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  5. This is a real concern and requires the Govt to move in immediately. Better still petition Multi-choice through the court. Consumer protection agencies in Zambia where are you?

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  6. We pay full bouquet because of specific interests, but we only regularly watch 9 channels. We should we subsidize others and as the contrubutorpoints our, why should we have to put up with ads from South Africa and Nigeria and why should we not have access to channels like BBC Earth? Lets us start a class action to pay only for what we wat h – the technology us there – just ask ZICTA.

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  7. This thing was started by prof Lungwangwa in parliament, but it is dying natural dearth. No follow up

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  8. Great article. I stopped paying for DSTV 8 years ago, I now use GoTV and MuviTV.
    I find it ironic that as much as people complain they still pay just as much for the same pathetic services. How do you expect not to get short changed with such kind of behavior?
    One way we can get value for whatever things we want would be by supporting home grown solutions like Muvi TV. I believe with enough support they can be better than Multichoice, and through that support would change their business model to suit the needs of their customers.

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  9. The issue brought out is very important. Let Mult Choice fix a charge per channel. Example you pick 10 channel and charged K50.00 per month it can work out. Also no need to show adverts from South Africa or Nigeria, it does not make sense at all. The Minister brought a valid point on data bundles not to be exipiring. But it seems it will die a natural death. These are issues which need support bcoz they concern money which is difficult to find.

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  10. Let it be pay per view. Just pay for what you watch and how much you have watched just like our electricity and talk time when you don’t buy bundle s.. which reduced as you use.

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    • If they had a fixed charge per channel, we would plan ahead and perhaps pay up to 6 months in advance .

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  11. Let us support Muvi TV and buy trade kings and other local products. These South Africans are ungrateful.

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  12. This is very helpful post.
    We need to support what is right
    We need to enjoy our money.
    Please those from our service provider please take note. We will be greatiful if you put it into consideration , otherwise am in support of this post 100%

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  13. The other thing of note is the monthly fixed charge that is with electricity service provider, Zesco, so that as one doesn’t buy electricity units as in a case of unoccupied shop, they should be made to pay amounts close to K3 000 when they want to recharge. How unfair particularly that the units that were previously bought had not run out! How can this hitch be fixed?

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