Prepay billing gaffe cuts Telecom XT customers short

Early buyers expose prepay text and data issue on XT

Customers buying prepaid SMS and data Extras for their new Telecom XT mobiles at the launch have found that their allocations have lasted only three days.

The Extra services are additional packages for data and SMS that customers can buy on top of mobile voice minutes for XT.

The issue was first highlighted on tech forum Geekzone, where a poster warned others that Telecom XT charges by the calendar month, instead of a 30-day billing cycle.

According to the poster, he purchased a SIM card on Friday May 29, the day Telecom launched the XT network, for $54.95 which included 1GB data allocation.

To the poster’s surprise, on June 1, he was charged the casual rate for data usage by Telecom, meaning the $54.95 paid only lasted three days until May 31. At $1 per megabyte, the casual rate equals $1,000 per gigabyte of data.

Other posters pointed out that their SMS texting plans purchased at the launch of XT had expired in a similar fashion, after only three days.

Currently, Telecom does not pro-rata the Extra add-ons, which are valid between the first and last days of the month.

Telecom's head of PR and Sponsorship Nick Brown confirmed the issue, saying launching close to the end of the month has highlighted that customers who purchase Extras late in a month could be disadvantaged if they don’t reach their data or text threshold.

However, Brown points out that the calendar month billing issue only affects prepaid customers use of Telecom Extras such as data and SMS.

These, he says, are standalone subscriptions. Voice top-ups for prepaid customers are not affected.

XT customers stung by the three-day billing cycle last month will be credited for any of the Extras bought between May 29 and 31, Brown says.

He says that Telecom is “not keen for any customers to be disadvantaged,” and adds that a process that allows usage to be on a pro-rata basis will be put in place from here on.

The calendar month billing is a carry-over from the old CDMA network.

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