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How to make money using premium-rated SMS

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • March 18, 2014

Many people ask me how to make money via premium rated SMS. To save further repetitions, here is a summary…


Since 2002, in South Africa (and most African countries), the mobile operators developed the WASP model (Wireless Application Service Provider) whereby a company can register as a WASP and apply for premium rated codes for SMS, USSD or IVR.


For example:


Bob wants to sell songs for R2 per song. He calls Vodacom, registers as a WASP, applies for a R2 short code (ie: 32111) and then starts advertising:


“Buy Bob’s songs for R2 per song, send an SMS with “Bob” to 32111”.


The network bills the customer R2, and then pays Bob a revenue share in 60 days. The revenue share depends on the network, but they are roughly as follows:


Vodacom                   75% to WASP

MTN                            50% to WASP

Cell C                         65% to WASP

Average                     65% to WASP


If Bob sells 10,000 songs in January then he will receive a cheque/EFT in March for the amount of R13,000 (10,000 x R2 x 65%).


That’s how WASPs work. Some of them are dodgy (they don’t tell you how much the song costs, or they silently subscribe fro R2 per day, or they simply don’t deliver the song and bill you anyway). Many of them are legit.


If you don’t want to deal directly with the networks, you can deal with an aggregator WASP, the best of which is probably


Bob’s your uncle.