If the airtime on your cellphone is disappearing and you have no idea where it went, this is where to start looking.

Hundreds of South African cellular subscribers recently contacted Talk Radio 702 to complain about a phenomenon dubbed “data leakage”.


Users complained that data was being deducted from their mobile accounts – even though they had not used the Internet.

This is not the first time South Africans have complained about airtime mysteriously disappearing from their cellular accounts.

Content subscription services run by wireless application service providers (WASPs) are also a culprit, with some charging daily subscription fees that total over a hundred rand per month.

If you find that airtime or data is disappearing from your account, this is what you can do about it.

South Africa’s mobile operators maintain that it is not possible for data to be deducted from your account without it being requested from your SIM.

In the vast majority of cases, data is being consumed by a mobile device without the user knowing about it.

If you are the only one who uses your SIM, and it is in a smartphone, you can monitor which applications are consuming the majority of your data.

Both Android and iOS have built-in features to track data consumption (as pictured above) which can be accessed through a device’s “settings” menu.

Should the SIM be in a router or Wi-Fi hotspot, you will need to check that only devices you recognise are connected to it. You can install software like NetLimiterNetHogs, or GlassWire on your PC to monitor device usage.

If, after monitoring your usage, there is still a discrepancy between what you have measured and what you have been billed for, you can contact your operator.



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