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Vodacom’s Freedom 99 fails to launch

May 21, 2012 • Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

South African mobile phone operator Vodacom announced plans to launch a new 99 cents offer as part of their Freedom 99 campaign, but due to a technocal oversight, the planned tarrif change failed to go ahead as planned.

Vodacom's launch of their Freedom 99 plan hit an administrative snag over the weekend (image: Vodacom)

The campaign was blocked by South Africa’s Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), as the operator failed to provide ICASA with the details of the new tarriff change seven days before the official annoucement was made to the press.

“(ICASA) has a regulatory mandate to ensure compliance with all regulations and the Electronic Communications Act. The authority informed Vodacom that, based on the wording of the press release issued on 16 May 2012, Vodacom was deemed non-compliant,” ICASA said in a statement.

On May 18 Vodacom issued a statement in which it acknowledged an error in its press release dated 16 May in reference to the Freedom 99 promotion as a new tariff.  The company said the correct wording should have referred to this as a promotion based on the All Day Per Minute price plan.

Although Vodacom apologised for the oversight and halted the roll-out of the promotion (which was due to take off on 20 May), ICASA said that proper procedure needs to be followed before they will be allowed to go ahead.

“Through the authority’s proactive intervention on this matter, Vodacom did not launch the advertised Freedom 99 product on Sunday, 20 May 2012, and a proper process needs to be followed in terms of the regulations,” they added.

It seems as though Vodacom was a bit too eager to annouce their product, as mobile operator Cell C announced a similar offerring just mere minutes after Vodacom announced their Freedom 99 service.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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