The Internet Service Providers’ Association (Ispa) has taken Telkom’s mobile arm, 8ta, to task for what it calls “false and misleading” advertising. 8ta, in turn, has said the campaign in question has run its course and won’t be flighted again.
Ispa lodged the complaint against 8ta at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), accusing the operator of making claims that an unlimited calls promotion was to all licensed network operators when, in fact, it was only to certain providers such as Neotel, Vodacom and MTN.
“The offer does not cover calls to a large number of other providers of fixed-line voice services, including many Ispa members, and calls to these providers attracts a charge of R1,50/minute excluding VAT,” Ispa says in its complaint to the ASA.
“These providers hold the same electronic communications licences issued by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa as that held by Telkom and provide their services over fixed networks,” it says. “Moreover, these providers in many cases utilise the same form of telephone numbers as is used by Telkom.”
Because there are 86 fixed national networks which can be dialled from Telkom’s network, the advertised 8ta offer does not cover calls to 94,5% of the fixed-line networks with which Telkom interconnects, Ispa argues in its complaint.
It adds that consumers have no way of knowing which service provider they are dialling and are unable to determine whether a number they are calling is covered by the 8ta offer. “This will lead to additional and unexpected expense for the consumer. The resultant prejudice is compounded by the effect of number portability.”
According to the ASA, 8ta argued the merits of its claims but also said the specific promotion had come to an end and that the advertising that was the subject of the complaint was no longer being used and had been withdrawn permanently.
Because 8ta withdrew the campaign, the ASA did not consider the merits of the matter. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media