Thursday, December 12Always On-point

Netone Sues Afrosoft For Using Their SMS Platform Without Permission

Netone is at loggerheads with AfroSoft Corporation (AfoSoft), prompting the state-owned Mobile Network Operator to sue Afrosoft demanding a staggering $11 million. Afrosoft Holdings is a Zimbabwean software development and IT solutions firm.

Here is their tale
Nine years ago (2009) Netone signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Afrosoft to develop products for their mutual benefit. However, Afrosoft supposedly took advantage of the MOU and arbitrarily started to offer SMS services to Netone’s customer with “no agreement on this provision”. Afrosoft is alleged to have sent 203 775 129 between June 1, 2015, and January 31, 2018. And these SMSes are being valued at $0.055 each inclusive of value-added tax. Doing the math there and multiplying 203775129 by $0.055 brings the value of the SMSes sent to $11 207 632.

Netone only discovered Afosoft alleged wrongdoing in January 2018 as the MNO was carrying out a system audit. Netone has since issued a summon against Afrosoft and now waiting for Afrosoft’s response. According to Newsday, Netone’s declaration said;
Between June 1, 2015 and January 31, 2018, the defendant did send various SMS to its customers. The total number of SMS sent was 203 775 129. Had the defendant had an agreement with the plaintiff, they would have been charged a service fee of $0.055 per SMS including value-added tax being the approved tariff from the Postal Telecommunications Regulatory Authority….Despite that, there was no agreement on this provision,defendant (AfroSoft) continued using plaintiff’s (NetOne) system of offering services to customers at the detriment of the plaintiff. Plaintiff only discovered the same in January 2018 when they carried out a system audit……..It would be unjust enrichment for the defendant not to pay for the service they enjoyed. At law, the defendant cannot be unjustly enriched and therefore should compensate the plaintiff for use of SMS platform without paying for the same…..Or alternatively, the defendant by using the SMS platform they tacitly entered into a contract with the plaintiff and, therefore, they are bound by the plaintiff’s terms and conditions that applies to its customers who send SMS

What interested me is that Afrosoft started to use Netone’s platform in 2015 and it took Netone three years to do a system audit and find out Afrosoft’s ‘activities’.–techzim

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