MTN Hell – Part 1

Admittedly, this old, personal blog is a bit heavy and unprofessional for our website but i’m an ardent opposer of bad service, backwards technology and slow bandwidth that handicaps our country. Consequently, when i read the wonderful news that Telkom had been guilty of excessive pricing and abuse of the market, i dug up my complaint against MTN.

Is MTN the worst internet service provider in Knysna?

I live in the town of Knysna (pop. 80 000). Although we’re small, we’re not off the beaten path. We’re one of South Africa’s most loved tourist destinations. The main highway, the N2, which runs for 2000km on the east coast, travels through our town centre. I live 1km from town centre, on a hill i.e. reception should be awesome. It isn’t…not anymore.

Being an entertainment agent during a recession is one of the worst jobs one could have i.e. there is no business. It’s the reason why i was painfully using my Nokia Xpress Music cellphone as a modem. That pain wasn’t the cellphone’s fault. I’d gotten it after being mugged 2 and a half years ago and was thankful for having a connection at all. I need it. After all, i’m internet prolific. I blog a lot. When it appeared that i was to gain business doing more community projects, getting a better internet connection became a must so i started comparing local stories about the 2 main networks in South Africa, Vodacom and MTN.

I could not find a single person using MTN internet with their prepaid sim card. Everyone i met had fallen prey to Vodacom’s special that offered a “free” USB modem and 350mb per month. I state “prey” because all of them were experiencing major problems with intermittent connections. I discovered this for myself when trying to assist a neighbour. That left MTN as the most viable option…or so i thought. I’ve been on the MTN network since the beginning, through contracts and then damn-expensive-prepaid when times got hard. I even, in the early days, worked at a call centre servicing customer problems. In a way, i was glad to stay with my lifelong network. What an idiot i was.

Firstly, a great crime committed by network operators is to force the naive South African market into contracts that utilize modems that only work with their brand i.e. if you move into an area where your previous service provider’s reception is dodgy, you cannot use the same modem if you switch to another network’s card. It’s reminiscent of the awful 2 year contracts that milked the blood out of your wallet whilst technology bypassed you every 6 months. Not wanting to be a victim and then complainer, i opted to spend double the amount of money on a modem from Kloppers which promised not only to be faster but work with any sim card. Freedom became my Victory USB modem.

Part 2 here…

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