Data leakage 'doesn't exist' - TechCentral

Data leakage ‘doesn’t exist’

“Data leakage”, where consumers lose data without using it, is a “technical impossibility”, an industry body has said, dismissing growing complaints from users that their mobile data is disappearing.

“This surge in data usage is behind the data depletion that has generated recent media coverage. Data leakage doesn’t exist,” said Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (Waspa) chairman Casper de Villiers.

In a statement on Tuesday, De Villiers said South African cellular users are spending a declining percentage of their cellphone budgets on voice calls and a growing proportion of their cellular spend on data.

“Local mobile consumers are still adjusting to the reality of the new global data economy,” he said. “Consumers are learning how to budget for data usage and will soon realise that data is not ‘disappearing’ from their cellphone accounts.”

Waspa advised consumers to download their mobile network’s usage app to their smartphones and opt to receive SMS data usage updates. It also recommended they download special data-saving apps to remain on top of data usage. It said they should try different operating systems and Internet browsers, too to determine which use less data.

De Villiers said the fact that data’s share of cellphone spend is increasing is welcome news for South Africa’s economy.  — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media


  1. Actually i put a data usage monitor in place and my actual usage verse what my service provider was different. What we call a “data leak”. If i buy my data directly from MTN, i dont have this issue, however my data purchased from Afrihost, somehow is used up at twice the rate. So whilst one can blindly refute the claims by incorrectly interpreting an end users understanding. There certainly is inflamed data use occurring. My behaviour with my mobile changes zero percent but depending if i bought my data from a reseller or directly from MTN will show a data use inflation. Facts. So from doing actual research into this issue, i have this to say to this unknown organisation, f@#& u buddy.

  2. Greg Mahlknecht on

    >“Data leakage”, where consumers lose data without using it, is a “technical impossibility”

    Bull. Mobile operators’ accounting systems are subject to errors and bugs just like any system ever created. I’m not saying that this is happening, but if they actually believe what they’re saying and dismiss it as impossible shows they’re either ignorant, or think consumers are ignorant. Consumers clearly understand things can have bugs in them, which means Casper de Villiers is ignorant.

    If you Google for “(mobile-operator) error refund” or similar, you’ll see there are cases where billing systems have gone awry and the mobile operators have admitted they had problems, and refunded customers.

  3. That’s true, and glitches do happen on occasion. But they are rare and certainly not as widespread as people seem to think. In my years at a mobile operator, all bar one query I investigated turned out to be a user issue rather than invalid data billing (proven and agreed by the customer). There were also the odd occasions where the billing system did something stupid and the operator refunded MB back onto users accounts at a global level, rather than per query. You will not believe how many people don’t really know how you tube works or that using your phone as a hotpot enabled your laptop to run windows updates (because it was connected to wifi) or that an OS update uses their data.

  4. Greg Mahlknecht on

    I did say this particular case probably isn’t a glitch, my problem is the absolute statement that this is “impossible”. It’s happened before, it will happen again. A lot of people with far more technical expertise than the guy who wrote the article suspect there’s an issue, and you shouldn’t try and allay their fears with lies and half-truths like this article has. He just says “nope, can’t happen” with no kind of explanation or facts backing his point of view up.

  5. The Navigator on

    It happens. The issue is real. Data is used by phone networks without the user intentionally using the data This happens even with data roaming disabled. Thus it is possible, I experience it. This is on my bill always, but fortunately i have a Flexi contract that covers this.

    As a professional systems engineer, I know how this works. De Villiers does not have knowledge of the problem, thus is ignorant. Therefore should not be in the position.

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