Vodacom refuses to give up in ‘Please call me’ battle
South African tech entrepreneur Nkosana Makate, creator of ‘Please Call Me’ idea, is set to face-off again with the telecom giant Vodacom despite his victory at the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa (SCA) yesterday.
Makate was seeking a review of the $2.5 million (R47 million) compensation offered by the company.
Yesterday, the SCA determined that Makate is entitled to receive between 5% to 7.5% of the total money generated from the idea, plus interest. That revenue is generated over an 18-year period, from 2001 to 2019.
The court rejected Vodacom's appeal against an earlier High Court decision that concluded the telco had not compensated Makate adequately.
The Please Call Me concept is that a user without airtime can send a text message to another subscriber, who then calls them back.
Makate has consistently argued that Vodacom owes him a compensation of $542 million (R10.2 billion), excluding accumulated interest and all legal bills incurred since the Constitutional Court decision in 2016.
The Constitutional Court ordered the parties in 2016 to engage in good faith negotiations to determine reasonable compensation.
Makate has insisted for years that his negotiations with Vodacom “have been anything but fair” requesting that the cell operator reveal all income generated by the Please Call Me idea.
Makate’s legal team calculated that Please Call Me has earned Vodacom $10.8 billion (R205bn) in call revenue from 2001 to 2020, which excludes, among other things, advertising revenue linked to the innovation.
Today, Vodacom informed shareholders that the battle is still ongoing and that it "will bring an application for leave to appeal before the Constitutional Court of South Africa, within the prescribed period."
Makate has not responded to ITWeb Africa request for comment at the time of publishing.