If you are a NetOne subscriber who uses their data services you need to be careful right now because their out-of-bundle restriction system is down. Basically, this means that if you NetOne data connection is on right now and you have airtime but have run out of data your airtime will be used by background processes. This also means that if your data is on because you have bought for example WhatsApp bundles, your airtime is going to disappear because it will be used up by your phone’s background processes that require a data connection.


Out of Bundle Browsing

We wish to advise our valued cusomers that the OBB Restriction platform is currently down. Our technical eam is working to restor normalcy. Kindaly bear with us during this period.

The message from NetOne to its subscribers

What is Out of bundle browsing

Before mobile networks started to sell bundles all you needed in order to go online was to have airtime in your phone and to turn the data connection on. Your network provider would then reduce your airtime based on how many megabytes of data you had used in very much the same way your airtime is used up for each second you call or for each SMS you send. This form of data usage is known as out of bundle browsing because you have not bought any bundles and your airtime is used up directly.

This method is rather expensive for the customer as it makes it harder to budget their airtime. You cannot for example turn off certain apps and stop them from using your internet connection. This was during the feature phone days so there were no apps you could install or some setting on your Android phone. There was also no easy way to stop the connection as soon as you had used up a certain amount of data. Again this was before Android so there were none of those still very technical methods to stop you from losing your airtime to background processes.

Eventually, networks started selling bundles, first your internet connection would use up bundle data and if that ran out it would start eating up your airtime. Then Econet followed up by the others introduced an out-of-bundle browsing switch. If you changed this setting, your connection would stop working as soon as you ran out of data even if you still had airtime. This way there would be no disappearing airtime.

That bit of software is the one that is currently down right now. It means at this very moment if you are a NetOne user there is a very high risk that your airtime is going to disappear because even if you set the out of bundle browsing switch to off, it’s not working right now. It’s kind of like locking a door with a broken lock. A thief can just walk in even if you have it locked.

If you have your data connection on because you have a WhatsApp connection you need you risk losing your airtime as that WhatsApp connection means that the data connection on your phone is on. When apps that are not WhatsApp try to connect to the internet they will use up your airtime.

How to stop your airtime from disappearing

You have two choices here depending on your budget:

  • Buy a lot of actual data which means that you will never run out, so you will keep browsing in bundle so to speak
  • Switch off your data connection and switch to another network e.g. Econet or Telecel for the moment until NetOne resolves the issue