The Competition Tribunal has confirmed, as an order, the consent agreement between the Competition Commission and telecommunications group Vodacom.
The tribunal said in a statement that a copy of the order and agreement will be published on its website in due course.
The agreement is the culmination of a market inquiry, initiated by the commission in 2017, to investigate concerns over high data prices and affordability.
Following the conclusion of the agreement early in March, which is in line with the recommendations in the commission’s ‘Final Findings and Recommendations of the Data Services Market Inquiry’ report, the duo applied to the tribunal for the confirmation of their consent agreement as an order.
In terms of the settlement, Vodacom makes no admission of liability for any conduct prohibited under the Competition Act.
Vodacom has agreed to reduce headline bundle prices within the 30-day data bundle portfolio across all channels; make available all of its current zero-rated services on one platform; extend the zero-rated offering to all public universities, technical and vocational education and training colleges and public schools; establish a full zero-rated Internet search function powered by Wikipedia; zero-rate South African job portals; expand its health and information portal to provide holistic health information; assist with protective measures to shield children from exposure to inappropriate and illegal content; and enable access to Facebook Flex.
Vodacom will also extend current zero-rating to essential state and emergency sites, as well as extend personalised discounts to prepaid customers in suburbs and villages where the majority of the population have income levels below the upper bound food poverty line and offer two free SMSs daily to all active prepaid customers.