Fight against rogue companies that steal your airtime


MTN and security platform provider Upstream have announced a partnership with the Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) to protect consumers from rogue WASPs that steal people’s airtime.

As part of the new collaboration, WASPA will review escalated findings and lodge the necessary complaint against any member found in contravention of the WASPA Code of Conduct.

This will help ensure that all providers adhere to the WASPA Code and MTN Business rules, the companies stated.

Alternatively, WASPA will work with the member to take remedial action.

WASPA says its Code of Conduct has set requirements for providing services, and strict privacy and confidentiality stipulations.

This ensures that people can use mobile services confidently, assured that companies will provide accurate information and pricing about all services.

It also aims to provide consumers with a mechanism for addressing any concerns or complaints relating to services offered by WASPA members, and a framework for impartial, fair and consistent evaluation and response to any complaints made.

In 2018, MTN appointed Upstream’s security platform Secure-D as their preferred anti-fraud solutions provider at a network level to defend users against unwanted premium digital subscriptions.

“It was a natural extension to add WASPA to the mix,” said Upstream CEO Dimitris Maniatis.

“WASPA was already performing monitoring on the Upstream network to ensure ads are appropriate, and when the opportunity arose for MTN to supplement their subscribers’ security by implementing Secure-D’s Ad Monitoring solution, MTN organised the collaboration between Upstream and WASPA to take it one step further.”

Dimitris Maniatis, Upstream CEO

MTN South Africa’s general manager for digital services, Jason Probert, believes that their customers will benefit enormously from WASPA’s ability to proactively identify, track, and resolve misleading content advertising.

“The entire industry will benefit from us being able to more effectively identify and deal with the few who exhibit bad practices,” Probert said.

“We know that it is usually unscrupulous affiliates downstream who are responsible for misleading ads, but now we have a platform to more easily identify and immediately stop it when this is taking place.”

Probert said that MTN is seeing increasing cases of malware being installed on users’ phones via apps and phishing expeditions which are then used to trigger fraudulent transactions.

“Unfortunately, it is usually the networks or the WASPs that are blamed for this,” he said.

“While I believe that the security measures that we have put in place on MTN’s network block most of these attempts, it’s a constant struggle as we are constantly under attack from new variants — making customer education around ‘free’ apps critical.”

WASPA managing executive Ilonka Badenhorst said that it is little wonder that unscrupulous advertisers are increasingly turning to social media and in-app advertising to get their misleading messages in front of consumers’ eyes.

“The battle against mobile fraud is certainly a difficult one, and one that evolves arguably as quick, if not quicker than the new technologies that create the loopholes,” stated Badenhorst.

“It is imperative that we pair the enthusiasm to understand new mobile service offerings, with the enthusiasm to safely navigate the dangers of the digital environment.”

Badenhorst said that the collaboration between WASPA, MTN, and Upstream would help the sector remain healthy, deliver educational and entertainment services to only subscribers who want them while ensuring business continuity to service providers and MTN.

Now read: Block SMS spam from WASPs with new Do Not Contact list


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