MTN responds to calls for data price reductions

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With Vodacom already having responded to the Competition Commission’s calls to lower the cost of data, this morning it was the turn of MTN.

The mobile network operator held an online press briefing in Johannesburg this morning to outline the changes afoot.

MTN South Africa chief executive officer Godfrey Motsa, welcomed minister of communications and telecommunications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, to the event where attendees were asked to practice physical distancing.

“No country can progress if they are not connected,” says Motsa

The CEO used the stream to outline MTN’s Internet 4 All manifesto. This is how MTN approaches every day according to the MTN and it tries to make sure data meets the following guidelines:

  • It’s available to everyone
  • It can be used by everyone
  • It’s affordable to everyone
  • People have endless uses for it

The Competition Commission inquiry last year called for price reductions between 30 – 50 percent as well as reduction in prices of all sub 500MB 30-day bundles. The commission also called for daily free data for South Africans.

So how does MTN plan to address these calls?

The CEO says that data usage by MTN customers has increased by 142 percent between 2017 and now. The network also says that data price per megabyte has dropped by 76 percent over the same period.

But despite this MTN says that prices will drop up to 50 percent.

A 1GB data bundle for instance used to cost R149 and will now cost R99. Prices for bundles range from R10 to R189.

Unfortunately, these price changes will only come into effect from 15th April but this is because of the logistics needed to implement the price changes.

In terms of free services, you can expect the following:

  • 20MB free every day
  • Free, open internet browsing between midnight and 5am
  • Free Ayoba Chat, Media & Channels
  • 500 zero-rated public benefit websites (health, TVET colleges, high school education, employment websites, public universities)

All of these benefits will go live on 15th April.

MTN has also said that it will start recommending data bundles to customers based on their usage and how much they paid for their last five bundles. This is accomplished via artificial intelligence and can be accessed by dialing *135#.

Finally, MTN says that it will be rolling out more affordable bundles for all of its customers moving forward.

With many South Africans working from home and the national state of disaster set to last for 90 days, these data price decreases will surely be welcomed when they go live.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.