Mobile operator has launched a new service so that its customers who run out of airtime can still call people willing to foot the bill. It’s like the collect call service on landlines, but for the 21st century. Forget Please Call Me, now MTN’s made it Please Pay for Me.
The new service is called MTN Pay4Me and allows customers to reverse-charge call the receiver. The receiver is asked whether or not they’ll accept the call and are told that they’ll be liable for the cost of the call.
If some chooses to accept the call they’ll be billed at 99c per minute (billed per second). This rate overrides any other tariff plan the receiver might have. If the receiver also doesn’t have enough airtime to cover the cost of the call, they’ll receive an SMS notification about the missed Pay4Me call.
“MTN is aware of how hard-pressed consumers are and this proposition seeks to ensure that its subscribers stay connected despite their financial situation,” says Larry Annetts, MTN’S chief marketing officer. “Through Pay4Me, MTN shows that it cares for the welfare of its customers and ensures that customers can fulfil their innate of human instincts – the need to communicate – regardless of their personal circumstances.”
As noble a sentiment as that is, MTN is still going to get paid for the call, it just won’t be the caller who does the paying for a change.
The new service will be available from Friday 24 October to all MTN customers. Pay4Me is only available when one MTN user is calling another.
To make a call using the service customers need to dial 127 from their handset followed by the number they wish to call. They can also place the call via USSD by dialing *127* followed by the cellphone number they wish to call and then a #.
It’s also possible for customers to pre-authorise certain numbers – like those of family, friends or colleagues – for the service. This can be set up by dialing *127#.
“This functionality saves time for the customer as the sponsor does not have to approve a Pay4Me request every time the frequent users of the service calls them,” Annetts says.