MTN has announced major changes to its data offerings following engagements with the Competition Commission.
The changes will focus on the affordability of monthly prepaid bundles, lifeline data and the zero-rating of data for public benefit service websites, the group said.
The most notable changes are as follows:
- Cheaper data: From 1 April, MTN said that it will also reduce the price of its monthly bundles of 1GB and below by between 25-50% and specifically the 1GB monthly bundle will decrease by 33% to R99.
- Free data: MTN SA will provide each of its customers 20MB of free data daily – or the equivalent of 600MB per customer every month – through its instant messaging platform, Ayoba. Ayoba currently has 500,000 customers in South Africa and is expected to continue to scale through the lifeline offering.
- Zero-rated websites: MTN currently offers zero-rated data access to a range of websites which includes schools, and universities. These will form part of the broader public benefit website service. In April 2020, MTN said it will extend the websites that form part of the public benefit service to also include health, public universities, vocational colleges, educational resources as well as employment sites based on terms and conditions and criteria defined by MTN and after application and approval from MTN.
- OpenTime: From April 2020, MTN said it will launch the OpenTime service, which will enable free access to public benefit services through a link on this website. MTN SA will offer a monthly 500MB free data access to public benefit services websites every month, amounting to 6GBs per year, for each of MTN SA’s 29 million customers.
“While there will be pressure on MTN SA’s short-term financial performance from these initiatives, MTN believe that the reduction in pricing will be compensated over time by elasticity and customer growth, and growth in prepaid data service revenue will return in a couple of quarters,” the group said.
“Radio spectrum is the digital highway upon which we depend to carry increasing mobile data at more cost-effective prices. This is acutely felt in South Africa, which has among the lowest spectrum allocation in all our MTN markets.
“The release of new spectrum in South Africa is urgently needed and will greatly assist our ability to service increased customer demand in a more cost-effective manner,” it said.