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Vodacom, MTN, and Telkom WhatsApp chatbots compared


Testing by MyBroadband revealed that Vodacom, MTN and Telkom’s WhatsApp chatbots offer useful functionality for basic services, similar to what is available through USSD.

Vodacom, MTN and Telkom have chatbots that can be contacted using WhatsApp for 24/7 assistance without the need to contact a call centre.

Users can access the WhatsApp bots by adding the appropriate contact to their device and sending a message to get started.

All the chatbots have similar functions to the USSD menus available through South Africa’s mobile operators.

One difference is that some chatbots can be accessed via a different network. An MTN subscriber can, for example, access the Telkom chatbot through their mobile phone.

Accessing a WhatsApp bot from a different network is helpful if you need to help someone else buy data or airtime or if you are interested in porting to that network.

The Vodacom bot only supports porting and queries from potential new customers when contacted from another network, like MTN or Telkom.

MTN and Telkom, in comparison, support a wide range of services when using another network, like buying airtime and data.

We also found that the WhatsApp chatbots offer more options when you use an on-net connection.

For example, you can check your MTN airtime and get detailed statements when interacting with the bot on the MTN network.

The response times from all the bots were immediate, making it a convenient way to get support or buy airtime.

The table below provides an overview of how the chatbots from the three major mobile networks compared.

WhatsApp Chatbots compared
Service Vodacom MTN Telkom
Buy Airtime or Data Yes Yes Yes
Buy from a different network* No Yes Yes
Check Balance Yes Yes Yes
WhatsApp Number 082 009 8624 083 123 0011 081 160 1700

Vodacom WhatsApp chatbot from a Vodacom number

Vodacom WhatsApp chatbot from a number from another network

MTN WhatsApp chatbot from an MTN number

MTN WhatsApp chatbot from a number from another network

Telkom WhatsApp chatbot from a Telkom number

Telkom WhatsApp chatbot from a number from another network

Now read: These WhatsApp messages can now land you in jail in South Africa

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