Premium services are subscription based services that are used to deliver various content to mobile subscribers. They could be information services such as breaking news, sports or entertainment news, games, music, betting tips and the list goes on.
These services are run by third-party companies and not by the mobile networks per se. The networks merely license them to run these products, however they make money from it.
Unfortunately, it’s often the case that most people find themselves subscribed to these services without their knowledge or through some deceptive means.
In fact, when many mobile users bemoan of mysteriously lost airtime, these services are usually to blame.
Unsubscribing from Premium Services on Safaricom
Following a huge public outcry, Safaricom rolled out a service to allow their subscribers to unsubscribe from these premium services. Here’s how to use it:
- Dial **456# with your Safaricom line.
- Select the Stop option from the menu.
- In the next menu select the Premium Services and Games option.
- Select Unsubscribe or My Active SMS Services if you need to first check your active subscriptions.
Unsubscribing from Premium Services on Telkom Kenya
- Dial **456# with your Telkom line.
- In the SMS Services menu select the Premium Subscription option.
- Next, select Unsubscribe or My Active SMS Services if you need to first check your active subscriptions.
Unsubscribing from Premium Services on Airtel Kenya
Airtel have no specific USSD codes to unsubscribe from premium services. With that said, based on my calls to their customer care agents here’s what you could try:
- Unsubscribe from the message service by sending STOP to the service’s number (STOP may not always be the code). The number is usually the same one as that on the SMS number delivering the premium service. Some services however use a name instead of a number in which case you can try looking online for the unsubscription instructions for that particular company. If both of these fail, then move to option two.
- Call the customer care via 100 or reach them through their Twitter handle or Facebook page and explain to them what has been happening. They’ll check whether you have an active premium service and either unsubscribe you or as I’ve experienced give you instructions on how to do it yourself. If you believe you were subscribed without your consent and subsequently charged, you can seek a refund. This also goes for Safaricom.
Other ways you may be losing your Airtime
Despite their bad reputation, sometimes we are the ones to blame for falling victim to some of these premium services tricks. In the past, these services almost relied exclusively on TV and Radio to advertise their premium services. That has since lessened, and now they rely more on promotional (marketing) SMS and internet Ads.
Fortunately, on Safaricom you can stop promotional SMS from any particular service. With internet ads however, there’s little that you can do other than being proactive when browsing. I’ve since covered some of the precautions that you can take online to achieve this.
Much of what is explained in that post can however be condensed into one basic rule: keep away from sites that you don’t trust especially ones that you notice serving unscrupulous ads.