Telecommunications group MTN on Friday said it would, from April 15, reduce the prices of its 30-day data bundles and offer up to 600 MB of data a month.
In response to the outcomes of the Competition Commission’s data services market inquiry, following on the heels of rival Vodacom, MTN plans to reduce the price of its sub-1 GB monthly data bundles by up to 50%.
The group’s 1 GB monthly bundle will decrease by 33% to R99 on April 15, with smaller-sized bundles set to get a 25% to 50% cut.
This is in line with the recommendations of the commission’s ‘Final Findings and Recommendations of the Data Services Market Inquiry’ report released late last year.
“This continues the work MTN South Africa has done to improve the affordability of data for its customers, having already brought the effective rate of data on its network down by 76% between February 2017 and February 2020,” MTN South Africa CEO Godfrey Motsa said during a webcast to media.
MTN South Africa will provide each of its customers 20 MB of free data daily – 600 MB a month – through its instant messaging platform Ayoba, and, from July, will offer free Internet browsing from midnight to 05:00.
In addition, MTN will extend its zero-rated data access to about 500 public benefit websites, including health, public universities, vocational colleges and educational resources, as well as employment sites, through its “OpenTime” service.
“MTN South Africa will offer a monthly 500 MB free data access to public benefit service websites every month, amounting to 6 GB a year, for each of its 29-million customers,” Motsa commented.
MTN remains in discussion with the Competition Commission on the options to legally formalise these elective solutions and the implementation thereof.
Earlier this month, Vodacom reached an agreement with the Competition Commission to reduce its prepaid data prices by 40% and enable digital inclusion over the next two years.
Effective April 1, Vodacom will reduce the headline data prices of its 30-day 1 GB bundles by 34% from R149 to R99 on all channels, while “significant” discounts will be provided on all 30-day bundles.
The company will also direct further, personalised discounted bundle offers to prepaid customers in more than 2 000 suburbs and villages where most of the population have income levels below the upper bound food poverty line.
Further decreases will be effected on April 1, 2021, bringing the reductions to about 40% overall.
In addition, Vodacom is extending its current zero-rating data services to incorporate more essential State and emergency sites, with the new essential services aimed at social upliftment consolidated into a single platform called “Connect U”.
The platform will include free access to job portals, free access to Facebook Flex, free access to other essential information such as local and international headlines, trends and the weather and the allocation of two free SMSes a day for active prepaid customers.
Vodacom’s zero-rating offering will be expanded to all public universities, technical and vocational educational training colleges and all public schools across the country that apply to get their portals zero-rated, while expansion plans are under way for Vodacom’s current Mum & Baby offering to provide holistic health information across all life-stages from the third quarter of this year.
The agreement also includes a full zero-rated Internet search function that allows customers access to the entire Wikipedia database of knowledge free of charge.