BlackBerry® Absolute: All you need to know

BlackBerry Absolute - All you need to know

Want to know what all the fuss is about? We have broken BlackBerry® Absolute down with the aim of answering all your questions. If you are still unsure about anything, please feel free to leave us your questions below.

Why BlackBerry® Absolute?

Since the introduction of BlackBerry® Internet Service (BIS), MTN observed that the majority of BlackBerry® customers only use up to 200MB of data for BlackBerry® BIS, whilst other customers use in excess of the BlackBerry® fair usage allowance. This has negatively impacted the experience of all other customers. This analysis prompted us to look at ways to optimise our customers’ experience, by designing a customised BlackBerry® service, to meet the needs of these customers. By so doing, MTN has improved the world-class Internet experience of all the customers using our network, with the aim to deliver a fair Internet experience for everyone.

MTN’s BlackBerry® Absolute plan intends to ensure our BlackBerry® customers are able to enjoy the service that they pay for. It is aimed at optimising the network to make it efficient so as to provide a world-class experience for our customers. It is important to note that the BlackBerry® Absolute plan does not impact the average customers’ experience and connectivity on their BlackBerry® handsets but rather offers a more seamless customer experience.

As part of the new BlackBerry® Absolute plan, for R59, MTN customers will continue to enjoy the benefits and features that come with owning a BlackBerry® handset, including services such as BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM), where users can text, share photos, video clips and voice notes, as well as access to BlackBerry® Email, Instant Messaging, Internet Browser and BlackBerry® App World. The new plan includes a 200MB fair usage policy.

For customers who use only a limited number of BlackBerry® services and consume low amounts of data, MTN has put BlackBerry® Tiered plans in place where customers can access selected BlackBerry® services from as little R14.95. The full suite of BlackBerry® Tiered service plans gives customers the choice to pay only for what they use.

Once customers have depleted the 200MB allocation on the BlackBerry® Absolute plan, they can stay connected to BlackBerry® services by either loading an Internet bundle or getting charged directly from their airtime balance. Note that applications other than BlackBerry®-built applications, will deplete data from an Internet bundle or available airtime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between BlackBerry® Absolute and BIS?

A: The BlackBerry® Absolute plan is aimed at optimising the MTN Network and offers the same BlackBerry® functionality that BIS offers, i.e. access to BBM, RIM Email account, BlackBerry® App World, BlackBerry® Protect, RIM built social apps such as Facebook and Twitter, RIM built instant messaging apps such as Google Talk and Microsoft Live Messenger, and Internet browsing using the RIM browser. The only difference is the Absolute plan has a fair use policy of 200MB offered on the above services.

Access to services such as audio and video streaming, YouTube, file downloading, instant messaging or social networking developed by third parties is not considered part of the BlackBerry® service plan and will be charged outside of your BlackBerry® plan.

It is important to note that the BlackBerry® Absolute plan will not limit our customers’ experience and connectivity on their BlackBerry® handsets.

Q: How does the new BlackBerry® Absolute plan benefit me?

A: The BlackBerry® Absolute plan was designed to offer access to BlackBerry® Internet Services which enables online functions such as web-browsing and emailing. Users can also send and receive push email and instant messages while maintaining a high level of security through on-device message encryption. BlackBerry® devices support a large variety of instant messaging features, with the most popular being the proprietary BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM) service.

Q: What should I do to activate BlackBerry® Absolute?

A: To activate the BlackBerry® Absolute plan on your BlackBerry®, simply dial *141*2#, press option 3 and then select option 4 for BlackBerry® Absolute.

Q: What is included in my 200MB fair usage policy?

A: Your BlackBerry® Absolute plan gives you access to the following:

BlackBerry Tiered Service plans

* Where we stipulate Social Network (SN) or Instant Messaging (IM), this refers to RIM Built Apps only:

  • RIM Built SN = Facebook and Twitter
  • RIM Built IM = Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk and AIM
  • 3rd party apps which BlackBerry has approved to go through its network instead of the Mobile Operator

Services that do not form a part of the BlackBerry® service plan include, but are not limited to:

  • Outgoing e-mails with attachments larger than 3MB;
  • Media (music and video) streaming (e.g. YouTube);
  • Social networking, other than RIM built SN (e.g. Facebook/Twitter applications downloaded from BlackBerry® App World that do not come standard on the BlackBerry® device);
  • Instant Messaging (IM), other than RIM built IM;
  • Internet tethering (using your phone as a modem to connect to the internet);
  • Peer-to-peer file sharing;
  • VoIP (Voice over IP);
  • Cloud-based services;
  • Uploading and downloading of large volumes of data;
  • Mobile (WiFi) Hotspot (only available in V7.1 and newer);
  • 3rd party apps that choose to use Carrier APN (this is outside of RIM’s control);
  • Carrier WAP and white-listed websites selected by Carriers;
  • Browsing where the user has manually selected the WAP Browser as the default (BB software version 3.x->5.0 only);
  • Illegal websites and content appearing on the IWF List (Internet Watch Foundation).

Q: Am I allowed to download on BlackBerry® Absolute?

A: Yes, you may download content of your choice but this does not fall within the 200MB BlackBerry® Absolute fair usage policy and therefore will be billed outside of your BlackBerry® service plan either directly from your airtime balance or through one of our significantly reduced MTN Internet bundles and Internet rates.

Q: How can I check my Internet usage on BlackBerry® Absolute?

A: Simply dial *141# from your phone.

Q: What happens if I access WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter which do not come standard on my device (i.e. third party applications that I have downloaded from BlackBerry® App World)?

A: When accessing these applications, the first place your phone will look to deplete data is from an Internet bundle. If there is no Internet bundle loaded, your phone will deplete your airtime. If you have neither of these two, you will not be able to access these applications.

Q: Does the 200MB fair usage policy mean that I will have limited use of my BlackBerry® services and features?

A: Our analysis of usage behaviour shows that the majority of our BlackBerry® customers fall within the 200MB usage pattern on a monthly basis. This means that those customers who use up to 200MB per month will continue to enjoy BlackBerry® features and services.

Q: What happens to contract customers who have signed 24 month BlackBerry® contracts?

A: New BlackBerry® contracts signed from the 1st of March 2013 will automatically be loaded with the BlackBerry® Absolute service plan as of 1 March 2013. MTN will honour its agreement with existing BlackBerry® BIS contract customers who have taken up this service prior to this date, until the end date of their contracts, and the BlackBerry® Absolute plan will be loaded automatically upon contract renewal.

Q: I am a contract customer, and I am due for an upgrade. Will I still be able to access BIS?

A: You will continue to enjoy BIS until such time as you upgrade or cancel your current price plan. Once you upgrade, you will no longer be able to access the uncapped BIS service plan however you will still be able to access BlackBerry® Internet Services if you choose to upgrade to a BlackBerry® service plan. View the list of BlackBerry® Tiered service plans available to you.

Q: What about prepaid customers who have purchased the 30 day BlackBerry® BIS voucher that expires after 1 March 2013?

A: Customers who have bought a recurring BlackBerry® BIS plan will be able to continue using BIS, provided they have enough airtime available on their BlackBerry® on the date of re-purchase of BIS. If no there is no airtime available on your account, you will no longer have access to BIS. You will, however be able to choose from any of our Blackberry® Tiered service plans.

Q: I am a prepaid user who subscribes to BIS on a recurring basis. Will I still be able to access it?

A: As a monthly BIS user, you will continue to enjoy access to BIS as long as you have enough airtime when your monthly subscription is due.

Q: What happens when I deplete the 200MB fair use policy?

A: Once the 200MB has been depleted, you will be charged the normal data rate of R0.65/MB or you can load an Internet bundle to continue enjoying cheaper rates. Check out the MTN Big Data Sale.

Q: May I load more than one BlackBerry® plan?

A: No, customers can only have one BlackBerry® service plan active on their line at any point in time.

Q: Will BlackBerry® Enterprise Services (BES) and BIS/BES customers be affected by the launch of the BlackBerry® Absolute plan?

A: These services remain unchanged and are not affected by the introduction of the BlackBerry® Absolute plan.

Q: If I load my BlackBerry® Tiered service plan on the 24th of the month, when will it expire?

A: Your plan will expire after one calendar month, i.e. the 24th of the following month. A calendar month is defined as:

  • Example 1: Service plan purchased on 1 June, will expire on 1 July
  • Example 2: Service plan purchased on 5 February will expire on 5 March
  • Example 3: Service plan purchased on 2 July will expire on 2 August
  • Example 4: Service plans loaded on the 29th, 30th and 31st that have no corresponding 29th, 30th or 31st the following month will have their service plans expire on the last day of the expiring month

Q: How will I know when I have depleted the 200MB provided on the BlackBerry® Absolute plan or when it is about to expire?

A: Every BlackBerry® Absolute customer will receive an SMS notification when he or she has used half (100MB) of the allocated 200MB, and another SMS once the full 200MB has been depleted. Customers will also be notified 48 hours before their BlackBerry® Absolute plan expires. In addition, customers can also check their usage balance by dialling *141# from their phones.

Q: I just bought the new BlackBerry® Z10. How do I activate BlackBerry® Absolute?

A: In order to access BlackBerry® services such as BBM, BlackBerry® App world, BlackBerry® Protect or your email account using your BlackBerry® Z10 only on MTN, you no longer have to subscribe to a BlackBerry® Tiered service plan.

Access to these BlackBerry® services holds no subscription charge, however data consumption through these services are charged for at normal data rates. Take advantage of the MTN Big Data Sale to purchase an Internet bundle for your new Z10 today!

For an explanation of the changes, please watch the below interview:

Have any other questions? Leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you!


  1. Phumezo nakani

    I am so frustrated by now I do not get any feedback about the upgrades I did do and my children are really in need of those phone what now?
    It can be better if I do get feed back about how far is the process or what is going to happen.

  2. Confused and Unhappy

    Isnt it BIS supposed to cover everything that uses internet? Whatsapp, Opera Mini, Browser etc..? I was told at MTN I’m billed through my airtime because Whatsapp and Internet isn’t covered in BIS. Now I just read in a previous blog that if you have neither internet bundles nor airtime you cannot access these applications even if you have BIS and yet I am able to access them. So I don’t understand why my airtime keeps disappearing. Lastly the lady who was supposed to assist me with my complaint was quite rude and apparently unwilling to help or maybe she was clueless i don’t know.

    • KVanZyl

      Hi there, so sorry about this. What device are you using? Can you pop me a mail with your cell number, device type and query to and I will look into it?

  3. Balekane

    Can I purchase apps using airtime from blackberry world?

  4. Hi. I just want to confirm something. I’m very much upset with MTN Service Provider at this moment of time. I bought a Blackberry 9320 on Pay as you go, today. Brand new from CNA. I activated my BIS aswell. Now, I have been using Blackberry phones for a very long time. And I have never been charged any airtime when downloading free content, such as MP3 songs or music videos on sites such as Tubidy and Zamob or Waptrix. Now I want to know why all of a sudden on this new phone I got today, airtime gets deducted when I’m downloading on the above mentioned sites? Like I said, I have never been charged a cent of airtime before. Isn’t that what BIS – uncapped are for? I’m seriously not very happy with MTN.

    • KVanZyl

      Hi there JB, streaming and audio download constitutes usage beyond the Intended Usage of BIS and may result in additional charges and/or reduced speed limits.

  5. I bought blackberry 9720 and I loaded 774MB but I can’t receive my emails

  6. evelyn west

    I was charged for connecting my mobile hotspot with another device even when I am using BIS, why?

    • KVanZyl

      Hi Evelyn, this constitutes usage beyond the Intended Usage of BIS and may result in additional charges and/or reduced speed limits.

  7. yolanda

    How can I transfer airtime from my Blackberry to another Blackberry or other phone?

    • ECloete

      Hi Yolanda, simply dial *141*3# and follow the prompts. This service will allow you to transfer Airtime, SMS Bundles, Internet Bundles and Internet Services

  8. i just bought a new Blackberry Z10,my problem is that i purchaed 100MB on prepaid but still up to now they are still not used but the phone uses all the airtime i put in.

  9. Hi,

    Can I use BIS 59rand on Black berry Z10

    • KVanZyl

      Hi Tokyo, unfortunately not. BlackBerry® 10 phones are like other smartphones, therefore you need to load an MTN Internet bundle.

  10. Dawid Scheffler

    When I signed up to my new contract this year and asked “has anything changed with the BIS policy” I was told “no it is still the same as you had before” and thus I signed.

    Now I find out that my browsing habits get limited to 200mb and the rest I will be charged for at premium rates? This is not what I agreed to when I purchased the new contract.

    Can I please have the service that I was promised upon signing rather than this joke?

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