Why do airtime and data bundles expire?

I just overheard a colleague of mine taking about how data she has on her phone and how it is going to expire. Then I got me thinking and maybe someone can explain this to me.

If you pay for any of these with your money why does it expire. It's not like a food item or something that requires you to use it within a certain time frame before it expires. If I paid for it that I should decide how I want to use it if in actual fact it is not something that can expire.

Imagine you work really hard and then you get paid but then they tell you that your money will expire in a year if you don't use it. That would be terrible!

My airtime is my money that I use and unlike something that expires the network operators should not have the right to tell me how to use it. And what happens to all the expired airtime and data that people lose through this nonsense(my understanding of it now). I was thinking of refunding but that is out of the question cause of pre-paid.

But I guess this is one of those things where the government allows nonsense like this because they benefit out it in some way.

The Fox 5366 2014-08-13 02:09:19 PM
On one hand it makes good business sense for the cellphone operators - if your data expires, you have to keep buying new data. In their defence, you're not really buying 'data' but rather access to their servers. In order for them to budget capacity and not over-sell themselves, they need a means of semi-accurately forecasting what sort of capacity they will have to have on a month-to-month basis. It's a bit like ATMs: if we all went to the ATMs to try draw all our cash, the banks would run dry because there literally isn't enough cash in circulation.
NormalCitizen 2014-08-13 02:09:46 PM
The retailer makes it's profit off the expired time/data. Pretty simple and a business model thousands of companies use. It is to benefit the client in fact , as you will get the cheapest price available...for a short time.
Richard 2014-08-13 02:15:23 PM
This is a question I have asked many times. I have a tablet that I use sometimes so I load data to be available when I want to use it but then it keeps expiring. Surely I have paid for the right to use it at my discretion. SO now I have a tablet with no data as I cannot keep loading data just so that it can expire.
James Smythe 2014-08-13 02:17:15 PM
It is plain theft and nothing less.
Trevor Van Rooi 2014-08-13 02:22:51 PM
Agree 100% with you,Why should it expire,like u said,its your money,I have a vodacom dongel at home that i used to for browsing,I pay R149 for a gig of data,yet,i only found out after buying the data bundle,that it expires within a month.Surely,i bought the data from vodacom,and i alone should decide how frequent i want to use it,and as you rightly said,if u use half,what happens to the other half that you paid for?
Sophie Ndungu 2014-08-13 02:24:49 PM
Thankyou! Think along the lines of Banks, medical Aid and Insurance Companies etc... You pay them with your little savings and they dictate when, if and how you get their “services”. Its annoying to the core but I do believe some big fishes are ripping us off in all this. I call for toyi toyi!!!!
Neville Daniels 2014-08-13 02:36:41 PM
We Safricans accept everything at face value. it requires active consumerism to take these corporates to task. It is valid point that you raise.Airtime does not go sour even if it is 2G.
Megan Riddell 2014-08-13 02:49:00 PM
Apparently, this was queried once before, by the relevant organisations. The outcome was: the networks are fully justified to use the money from unused (expired) data to further improve the infrastructure. I'd like to know who paid who for that conclusion because either way you look at it, it is downright robbery, plain and simple.
Steven Bresler 2014-08-13 03:51:21 PM
It actually wouldn't be too bad if the airtime or data was cheap. We should have as many as 12-15 service providers and then the competition will keep prices low. However, we don't have a government that is strong enough to impose those kinds of legislation.
Michael Van Den Berg 2014-08-13 04:32:01 PM
Greed. That's the short of it. I'm in IT and please don't tell me that a few additional rows in some database should cost that much to maintain that you can justify having to expire it for the sake of space or whatever. It costs an arm and a leg if you translate the Rand to bytes and then they force you to buy it again because it 'expires'. The fact that telecoms have charged as more than 1c per sms, which is less than 1 Kb, is already one of their biggest profiteering schemes and this is just another. Period.