Vodacom cuts data bundle prices

to show a pic of a person using data

Voda­com will cut its data bun­dles prices by more than 30% across all of its chan­nels as of 1 April 2020.

“Voda­com has agreed to a mul­ti-year sub­stan­tial reduc­tion of month­ly data bun­dles across the board. For exam­ple, the key 1GB month­ly data bun­dle will drop from R149 per 1 Giga­byte to no more that R99 (includ­ing Vat). This rep­re­sents a 34% price decrease,” said Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion­er Tem­binkosi Bonakele.

Bonakele, togeth­er with Min­is­ter of Trade and Indus­try, Ebrahim Patel and Voda­com group CEO Shameel Joosub, held a media brief­ing in Tshwane on Tues­day, to announce Vodacom’s set­tle­ment agree­ment on data prices.

“Cus­tomers that buy the low­est vol­umes of data, which are typ­i­cal­ly the poor­est cus­tomers, will see the great­est ben­e­fit of these price decreas­es,” the Com­mis­sion­er said.

Vodacom’s deci­sion fol­lows the Com­pe­ti­tion Commission’s mar­ket inquiry report into mobile data ser­vices, which found that South Africa’s data prices are exces­sive­ly high.

Joosub said Voda­com South Africa will intro­duce a range of ini­tia­tives that will result in R2.7 bil­lion in addi­tion­al sav­ings for cus­tomers.

“Hav­ing heard the con­cerns raised by the Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion, we proac­tive­ly entered into a Social Con­tract with gov­ern­ment and the pub­lic. We did this at a time when South African con­sumers are under increas­ing finan­cial pres­sure and on the under­stand­ing that action will be tak­en by Inde­pen­dent Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Author­i­ty of South Africa (ICASA) and gov­ern­ment to auc­tion high demand spec­trum,” adds Joosub.

From the 1 April, Voda­com will, except for the zero-rat­ed gov­ern­ment web­sites, make avail­able all of its cur­rent zero-rat­ed ser­vices on one plat­form, with increased focus on con­sumers in poor­er com­mu­ni­ties through “Con­nec­tU.”

The Con­nec­tU will address sev­en key areas, name­ly edu­ca­tion; inter­net search; jobs, social and essen­tial inter­net access; health and well­ness as well as safe­ty and secu­ri­ty.

The ben­e­fits of the Con­nec­tU are as fol­lows:

  • Voda­com will expand their cur­rent zero rat­ing offer­ing to all pub­lic uni­ver­si­ties, Tech­ni­cal and Voca­tion­al Edu­ca­tion­al Train­ing (TVET) col­leges as well as all pub­lic schools across the coun­try. These edu­ca­tion­al insti­tu­tions will be able to apply to get their por­tals zero-rat­ed through a clear and trans­par­ent process.
  • Voda­com will pro­vide a full zero-rat­ed Inter­net search func­tion pow­ered by Wikipedia, which will enable cus­tomers to search for any top­ic online.
  • Voda­com will allow cus­tomers to view and apply for job oppor­tu­ni­ties as adver­tised on sev­en zero-rat­ed South African job por­tals.
  • Voda­com has under­tak­en to pro­vide cus­tomers with free access to Face­book Flex.
  • Voda­com will expand its health infor­ma­tion por­tal from the cur­rent Mum & Baby offer­ing to pro­vide holis­tic health infor­ma­tion across all life-stages in the third quar­ter of 2020.
  • Voda­com will assist with the pro­tec­tion of fam­i­lies through mea­sures such as Secure Net Parental Con­trol, a pro­tec­tive mea­sure to shield chil­dren from expo­sure to ille­gal and inap­pro­pri­ate adult con­tent.

Pro-poor per­son­al­ized dis­count­ing and free com­mu­ni­ca­tion

Bonakele said Voda­com will extend cur­rent zero-rat­ing to essen­tial state and emer­gency spec­i­fied sites.

“These will enable cit­i­zens to access emer­gency ser­vices and allow cit­i­zens to access cru­cial gov­ern­ment infor­ma­tion and ser­vices. The list extends to more than 26 and includes sites of the Depart­ment of Health, Edu­ca­tion and Home Affairs.

“This Voda­com under­tak­ing will be phased in with­in two months from 01 April to allow time for the nec­es­sary tech­ni­cal test­ing and imple­men­ta­tion,” he said.

In addi­tion, the mobile oper­a­tor will extend per­son­alised dis­counts to pre­paid cus­tomers in all sub­urbs and vil­lages where most of the pop­u­la­tion have income lev­els below the upper bound food pover­ty line.

This will cov­er more than 2 000 local­i­ties as defined in the agree­ment.

“Voda­com shall extend two free SMSs dai­ly to all pre­paid cus­tomers who had at least one rev­enue gen­er­at­ing activ­i­ty in the pre­ced­ing 30-day peri­od. Voda­com shall launch Con­nec­tU plat­form offi­cial­ly with the nec­es­sary mar­ket­ing cam­paigns to dri­ve aware­ness and edu­ca­tion,” Bonakele said.

The Min­is­ter has wel­comed the set­tle­ment agree­ment with Voda­com on data prices.

“The actu­al reduc­tion in prices and the zero-rat­ing of par­tic­u­lar web­sites are crit­i­cal means of enabling greater lev­els of devel­op­ing a soci­ety. Today so much of the nation­al con­ver­sa­tion is con­duct­ed through elec­tron­ic means, so many con­sumers derive infor­ma­tion, facts, opin­ions of which we base our choic­es from on the infor­ma­tion which we obtain through dig­i­tal means.

“That a web­site like Wikipedia is now avail­able to all South Africans to use as a means of obtain­ing infor­ma­tion helps to increase the foun­da­tions of our democ­ra­cy, which is an informed cit­i­zen­ship,” Patel said. – SAnews.gov.za

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