Busting myths about digital content charges

The Internet is a plethora of information and once you start browsing, well, it might as well be a never-ending Pringles can. Unfortunately most things that are fun in life come at a cost. It’s not only browsing that costs, you’ve got to add mails, instant messaging, downloads etc. to the mix. If you’re connected to an uncapped wifi source, this is no problem, but if you’re not then you might be unpleasantly surprised by hefty bills at the end of the month due to unexpected digital content charges.


Mira Networks were kind enough to take us through some of the common queries that they receive about unexpected data charges and we’re going to play a game of Myth Busters with them so that you don’t get caught out too. Today,  we’re busting myths about digital content charges. Let’s play:


I have a Blackberry with Blackberry Internet service (BIS).

Busted: BIS gives ‘free’ email and browsing for a monthly fee, but this is a service from Blackberry, and not the cellphone service provider. It does not cover premium content charges, which are charged via Premium SMS or Carrier billing to your cellphone account or deducted from your airtime balance.


It’s a data only account

Busted: With carrier billing, digital content services can be charged to most cellphone accounts, whether it be voice or data. If the device can access the Internet through a browser, it is possible to conclude a transaction.


The SIM card is in a dongle or a tablet

Busted: The content charges are not device depended. As mentioned above, if the device can browse the Internet on the mobile network, it is possible to make a purchase, which is charged to the cellphone account.


I’m on Prepaid

Busted: Charges can be made to most types of cellphone accounts. On a monthly contract, the charges will be added to your monthly account, but on a prepaid account it’s deducted from the airtime balance.


My phone was off / in for repairs / I removed the SIM card

Busted: If you subscribed to a content service, the SIM card does not have to be in the device for your account to be charged the recurring fee, since your account is not kept on the SIM card.


I deleted the service messages

Busted: Deleting the service message will not remove the charge. These messages are simply informational and often reminders that there is a subscription service in place. These messages are also the means to stop the service – follow the instructions in the service messages or contact your service provider. 


I didn’t sign a contract

Busted: Not all agreements need to be reduced to pen and paper. The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act makes a transaction enforceable if it is concluded entirely through data messages and is therefore a valid and legal transaction between parties.

Read your messages and be aware with the same vigilance of what is going on with your account, as if it were your credit card or bank account. 

I'd love to chat to you some more.


I usually send out a weekly mailer with a recap of blog posts but also some personal anecdotes. If you want to know about competitions or just catch up in a more personal setting then you might like to receive the mailer.

Enter your email and get the scoop first: