After engagements with the Competition Commission and in response to its Data Service Market Inquiry, MTN SA has today announced that it will be reducing the prices of its monthly data bundles.
The long-expected price decrease comes after the Commission’s Inquiry found that Vodacom and MTN must lower their data prices, the highest in Africa, and provide more free services to customers. Vodacom having announced a similar cut last week.
Now MTN SA will, in April 2020, 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.
“MTN SA has developed a set of voluntary undertakings in the form of a social compact to further address the affordability of data services for its customers and MTN remains in discussion with the CompCom on the options to formalise these elective solutions and the implementation thereof,” reads a statement from MTN SA’s press office.
“This continues the work MTN SA 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,” the statement continues.
In terms of free “lifeline” data, MTN will provide customers with 20 MB free daily data – 600 MB per customer per month – through Ayoba, MTN’s instant messaging platform.
Customers will have to access Ayoba to utilize the free data. The platform currently has about 500-thousand users and is expected to increase as new customers join.
“In April 2020, MTN 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,” says the Telecoms Giant.
MTN will also be launching a new service called OpenTime in April 2020. Through OpenTime, customers will be able to freely access ‘public benefit services.’ MTN will also offer a monthly 500 MB of free data to access public benefit services websites every month.
These initiatives will initially lead to short-term pressures on MTN SA’s financial performance, however, the company believes that “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.”
USSD Menu Changes
MTN says that it will bring a new “Usage Rate” menu from whence customers will be able to review their data usage and rates for free.
MTN customers should dial *136*5# or *135# free from their smartphone to access the new “Usage Rate” menu, they will be presented with two options.
Option 1 will allow customers to view their usage and effective rate for the last five purchased bundles in the month, and Option 2 shows customers affordable bundles tailored to their unique usage profiles.
With Vodacom and MTN officially heeding the words of the Competition Commission, it is safe to say that #DataIsFalling.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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