Please Call Me inventor wants more than R47m from Vodacom

By Doug Mattushek - 19 August 2019Views : 924


Court papers have revealed that Vodacom offered Please Call Me inventor Nkosana Makate a R47 million settlement, but he wants R10 billion.

In 2016, the Constitutional Court ordered both parties to negotiate in good faith and come to a reasonable compensation amount.

But now, Moneyweb reports that when Makate met with Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub in January with a team of lawyers, he offered Makate the R47m. After refusing the offer, Makate launched an application to the high court for an order that seeks to review and set aside the settlement offer and force Vodacom to reveal the income generated from the Please Call Me since it's launch in March 2001.

Makate is searching for 5% of the total revenue his idea earned plus accrued interest. By his legal teams' calculation, the figure owed to him is R10.2 billion, making the total revenue earned by the product R205 billion.

As such, by their calculations, Makate's R47m offer equates to just 0.023% of what his Please Call Me service generated for the telecommunications giant.

"There is no sense in which an amount of 0.023% can be said to be a reasonable share of the revenue concerned, which can be up to 85% as in other instances," the court papers reveal Makate as saying.

However, Vodacom rejected Makate's revenue calculations, saying that the service was offered for free on launch and when they planned to charge for the service, MTN launched a similar product which saw them shelve the plan.

Till Streichert, Vodacom's chief financial officer, said that any uptake on call volume due to the Please Call Me innovation would be highly speculative.

"We have been seeing traffic [on calls] evolving over many years..normal calling patterns have been incremental," said Streichert.