MTN sticks to its guns on data depletion

MTN logo. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
MTN logo. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Johannesburg - Mobile network MTN has reiterated that a rising number of complaints regarding data depletion is linked to customers’ phone settings.

Earlier this week, Fin24 reported that a growing number of MTN customers have complained that their internet packages are disappearing quicker than previously and that data costs have also surged.

MTN subsequently responded to consumers’ complaints and blamed users’ phone settings on the said data depletion.

READ: MTN 'decodes' mystery of depleting data

In a statement, MTN explained that data can be quickly depleted if customers, for example, have LTE-enabled phones, apps that run in the background and continuous automatic updates from applications.

MTN on Thursday evening also responded to Fin24’s request to look into further complaints from customers regarding data depletion, and the company has reiterated that phone settings are the culprit.

For one Fin24 user’s data depletion complaint, MTN said the following:

“MTN has investigated the matter and can confirm that there was usage of the data. MTN has sent the client proof of the URLs visited but she denies having accessed any of those sites. The usage was validated and the charges were deemed valid. We have escalated the matter to our forensics department for further verification. Customers are advised to protect their hot-spots access. We are still awaiting feedback from forensics.”

And for a second Fin24 user’s data complaint, MTN had this to say:

“We have reached an amicable understanding with the other client after we validated her usage. MTN is currently awaiting the URL report and it will be sent to the client. The customer expressed gratitude and is pleased that we can substantiate the charges and educate her on efficient usage of her smartphone."

Fin24 also forwarded several other emails to MTN to ask for a response. However, the company has yet to respond to other complaints.

Since publishing the story earlier this week on MTN’s reasons for data being depleted, Fin24 has also received dozens of emails from consumers upset at the phone company’s explanation.

Below are just some of the emails that Fin24 users have submitted their views on this topic.

Fin24 user Kirsty wrote:

“I think this is blatant daylight robbery. The company is struggling financially and now suddenly we are running through data in seconds? I have had the same devices for over a year and it’s only in the last month that I am constantly out of data. It’s ridiculous and all its doing is frustrating customers and making us reconsider our network choice!”

Fin24 user Marvin wrote:

“Their sob explanation for data loss is bullshit.  I loaded R15.00 airtime and made a call for no more than 53 seconds and my airtime was exhausted before I could end my call. When I called them they blamed my apps. When I told the lady I had almost 1GB data she refused to be off any aid. I have an S4. Two years old.”

Fin24 user Marvin wrote:

"My honest opinion is that, that is not true. About two years ago I received an account for data that was outrageous. I told them that I couldn’t use data for those amounts on my cellphone as I have two data sticks one for my tablet and one for my computer. This is still not solved. A couple of months ago I bought 2GB data for my computer and I was on the computer for a while. The same day my data was finished. I posted a report on HelloPeter.com and they responded and asked for the number in question. I posted another report on HelloPeter.com mentioning the number as they did not leave any number or email address where I can contact them. Since today I haven’t heard anything."

Fin24 user Charles said:

“What still needs explaining: Why only in July/August did my data jump up from the norm over the past two years with the SAME phone, SIM card, contract, usage behaviour?”

Fin24 user Sean wrote:

“Absolute rubbish answer by MTN. I am with Vodacom and my wife is with Cell C. We have both experienced this. I have turned off everything that drains. But I have photo proof (screen grabs) of how I have purchased data and one hour later that data is gone! I know how much data I generally use and what's on. But it's happened a number of times where 100MB of data or more have been used in less than an hour.”

Fin24 user Didi said:

“I think these explanations are just to placate us. The issues only started about 2-3 weeks ago from what I gathered on social media and my own experience. Most people have had smartphones with LTE for years or months now and this has never been an issue before. Most consumers are also aware of background apps and updates already and have been managing this since they got their phones.”

Meanwhile, Fin24 user Andrè said the problem also extends to Wi-Fi routers, raising further questions about MTN’s explanation:

“I have been using a MTN Wi-Fi router now for more than four years. It is secured and the Wi-Fi is not always on. It is connected via USB to my PC. Only recently, the past few months, I started losing data.  I use a desktop PC (I know...I am old school) all day long. I don't have any fancy apps or software running in the background. All auto updates are disabled.

“Just the other day, I loaded 1GB of data at 13:30. No applications were running on my PC and I left home. I returned and used my PC email only and did not receive any large files. That night I forgot the modem on and in the morning, I lost all of my data. MTN call centre could not explain it and I am still waiting for their ‘escalated response’."

Fin24 user Siyani, though, is on the side of MTN:

“It is very true, running apps on backgrounds finishes data in a blink. People need to remember to logout after using any app they've been busy with and also switching off data option can help save lot of data.”

Have you experienced data depletion from other networks? Tell us by clicking here.

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