We all need a sponsor for something. MTN Zambia realise this and, using a model that has been popular with subscribers across developing markets, have introduced a reverse call charge service called Pay4Me. Essentially, Pay4Me allows you to call someone, and let them pay for it. With permission ofcourse!
It kind of takes you back to when landlines were “cool” and reverse calls were the in-thing for most of us. Same thing.
All you have to do to “shimika”, or chat, is dial *223* plus the number of the person you want to call, and then press your send/call button. Simple.
What good is it to the caller? Well, they still get to call when they’re broke and have exhausted their MTN Xtra time. It’s also good when you’re desperate to make a call in an emergency situation, rather than using the “SOS” messaging service which doesn’t give you a quick response as a call would, especially if you’re not even sure the person you want to talk to has their phone on.
What it could mean for the receiver? BILLS! You get to pay for the call with your own credit so you’re either forced to make the call fast, or reject it. Rejecting a call does bring a sense of guilt. I should know, I don’t accept calls sometimes and the curiosity kills me because I stay worrying about why the person called. Then I have to call them back in the end, (sigh) the struggle is real my friends.
It’s a great service initiative but I worry people might abuse and and make useless calls with it. How about a time limit to a call MTN, say one minute? The fact that this service is going by the slogan “shimika for free” is a bit disturbing. The word itself means ‘to chat for a long time” but with the increased call rates I doubt anybody really wants to use up their airtime for more than a minute. How is it even free? Free for the caller, yes, but an expense for the receiver so, uhm, where’s the free aspect exactly?
Needless to say, the reverse charge call service only works for calls within the MTN network. Good luck with your chatty friends who really want to shimika all day!