Telecom Operators

Vodacom redeems itself for billing system error

South Africa-based telecommunications company Vodacom said in a statement that it will give all customers affected by a recent billing systems error a 500MB bundle for free, over and above the airtime and data refunds processed by the company.

The system error, which impacted certain prepaid and top up customers, was caused by a configuration change on Vodacom’s prepaid and top up billing system. Vodacom swiftly isolated the problem and rolled the process back. The company worked to ensure that all affected customers were refunded in full. 

“The error clearly caused inconvenience to our customers and we’ve worked very hard since we picked it up to make it right and refund all our affected customers,” said Shameel Joosub, Chief Executive Officer of Vodacom Group.

But the company wanted to “go a step further” to apologize and thank its customers for their understanding, Joosub explained, thus deciding to give each affected customer a free 500MB bundle which they can use over three days.

“An error of this kind has never happened before and we’ve taken steps to ensure it never recurs,” Joosub said. “We’d like to assure all our customers that this was simply an error caused during a configuration change and nothing more than that. We hope our customers will appreciate the gesture, and our apology.”

Vodacom, majority owned by Vodafone (69.75% holding), is one of Africa’s main communications organizations. The company’s mobile network operates in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Lesotho and Kenya, covering a population of over 260 million people.

Vodacom recently announced that its proposed R35 billion (around US$2.6 billion) acquisition of an effective 35% stake in Kenya’s main telecommunications company Safaricom has been finalized. All regulatory approvals and conditions precedent in both Kenya and South Africa have now been met.