Vodafone migrates VAS providers from Rancard to Telenity

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Vodafone Ghana has terminated the contract of local value-added service (VAS) aggregator, Rancard Solutions, and migrated all of its VAS content providers in Ghana to an US-based company called Telenity.

Rancard was for several years the entity through which all VAS content providers went to get to the Vodafone Ghana platform and reach subscribers. They then get paid by Vodafone a percentage of the fees realised from the VAS traffic that went through them.

Techgh24 learnt from some VAS providers that Vodafone kept up to 80% of the VAS revenue and gave the content providers only 20%.

It is not clear why Vodafone has terminated Rancard’s contract, as efforts to get officials of both Vodafone and Rancard to speak on the matter proved futile.

But in recent times, the #StopTheAirtimeLoot campaign by Techgh24 revealed how the Vodafone platform, like others, is heavily compromised to the extent that customers get signed on to paid VAS services and are billed without their consent.

The platform is so compromised that several Vodafone customers showed evidence of having been signed on to up to 20 VAS content without their consent. For some, anytime they buy airtime, it completely vanishes almost immediately because the hidden subscriptions were just a channel to ‘loot’ the airtime.

Till date, many subscribers still remain signed on to VAS content and are being charged on daily basis without their consent.

Whereas several of the VAS providers whose services were involved in the ‘loot’ are in Ghana, quite a number of them also sit in countries like India and South Africa. But all of their services went through Rancard before getting to subscribers for Vodafone to do the billing and pay the others in the ‘value’ chain.

Choosing Telenity

It is still not clear whether Rancard was terminated because of the extent to which the VAS platform is comprised, but information reaching this writer indicates the choice of Telenity as a VAS partner for Vodafone Ghana also has something to do with controls from Vodacom South Africa, from where Vodafone Ghana is now managed.

For many years now, Vodafone Ghana has been a shadow of its true self in Ghana, to the extent that the Group hardly mentions Ghana in its period reports. Sources said Vodafone Ghana has now been put under Vodacom South Africa and they capture information about Ghana in their reports without necessarily mentioning Ghana.

Telenity has been a VAS vendor for Vodacom and indeed several other entities across the world for many years now. So, it was a business decision by Vodacom SA to transfer all VAS providers in Ghana to Telenity so they, Vodacom, can have proper oversight.

*463#

Meanwhile, as part of the directives given to the VAS providers, they are to consistently inform customers about the *463# short code, through which customers can check and know what VAS subscriptions they are on.

In a circular to all VAS providers, Vodafone specifically asked them to include the statement “Dial *463# to manage your subscriptions” at the end of every message they send to subscribers.

The circular said that message should be attached to both SMS and digital VAS content, adding however that for services that customers are to be billed more than once in a day, the message about *463# should be attached to only one and not all the messages.

Meanwhile, recently, a Vodafone customer reported being billed from two VAS content, but when he checked *463# he did not find any information about those two services. Till date, Vodafone has not been able to offer an explanation as to why that customer was signed on to those two services and yet they were not visible on *463#.

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