The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has moved swiftly to intervene in a heated battle between state-owned mobile network operator NetOne and its OneFusion subscribers over disappearing data. The uproar around the OneFusion service started about a week ago when subscribers started complaining about airtime running out much quicker than normal. Facebook and Whatsapp also stopped working as advertised, with pictures and videos proving hard to access, instead NetOne shifted the blame on Facebook.
NetOne cited a technical glitch in their billing system which they attributed to a slow down in the performance of data resulting in many OneFusion users failing to access their Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp accounts.
In a letter to NetOne, POTRAZ instructed the operator to compensate consumers who were affected by the poor service during those glitch moments.
RE: BILLING COMPLAINTS ON NETONE DATA BUNDLES
We refer to the above matter.
The Authority has noted the billing challenges you are facing with the Onefusion product. We have also noted that you have sent a communication to your subscribers advising and admitting the same challenges. Given the extent and magnitude of complaints raised to the Regulator by the subscribers, we hereby direct you to compensate the affected consumers in accordance with the prejudice they endured. This is done in the spirit of promoting the consumers’ right to complain and redress.
Accordingly, you are further requested to provide the Authority with a database of affected subscribers that provides details of the subscriber including the name, number, and the extent to which each of them was affected in monetary terms and the compensation levels extended to the affected subscribers. The database will enable us to conduct an audit trail on whether all affected subscribers have been compensated accordingly. The database should be submitted to the Authority by 28 February 2018. You are also advised to furnish the authority with measures that you have put in place to ensure that challenges of this nature will not recur.
We have taken out the name of the official who wrote the directive letter.
POTRAZ has recently embarked on a nationwide tour to educate the masses on their consumer rights. The regulator says every consumer has the right to get timely, accurate bills and redress if the subscriber is not happy about the quality of service being received from the provider.
The move to tighten legislative measures on operators is a welcome move from POTRAZ since many subscribers across the industry have been crying foul on the poor deals being dished to them by service providers. It is actually good that the regulator has started by punishing a government entity otherwise the move could have been viewed differently if they started by private players in the same playing field.
NetOne is expected to officially respond to the regulator’s directive by close of business today.