Pressurised MTN to reduce expensive data

This follows the outcry on the expensive data experienced by millions of its customers and pressure from the policy makers within the industry.

In these tough economic conditions, MTN does not want to delay the announcement of these customer-focused solutions. MTN remains in discussion with the Competition Commission, on the options to regulate these elective solutions and the implementation thereof, read the media statement.

With immediate effect, every MTN customer will wake up each morning to a free 20MB Ayoba Data Lifeline that will be available using MTN’s instant messaging platform, Ayoba.

It has undertaken in the form of a voluntary social compact and cover the following:

  • Price reductions:

All of MTN’s sub-1GB 30-day data bundles (from R10 – R149) will be reduced by up to 50%.

  • Free data:

A daily free 20MB allocation of data to all MTN customers to send pictures, messages, video and to browse the internet, using the Ayoba app.

  • Free access to public benefit websites: The introduction of MTN OpenTime – free access to education, health and employment websites – of up to 500 unique sites that will be accessible without data charges.
  • Tracking personal data usage and data spend: enhanced data usage and tariff information for all customers, to track usage and to inform customers of their data spending habits.

“MTN believes that everyone deserves the benefit of a modern connected life and that starts with connectivity. The 20MB Ayoba Data Lifeline will ensure MTN customers are able to communicate with friends and family, every day, even when they are out of airtime. This is the equivalent of 600MB of free data per month, every month,” says Godfrey Motsa, MTN SA CEO.

Ayoba is MTN’s instant messaging app. The app is available in isiZulu, isiXhosa, English and Afrikaans and can be used on Android devices.  

From today, the Ayoba Data Lifeline will allow for instant text messaging (Ayoba Chat), the sharing of pictures, video and audio files, location and voice notes (Ayoba Media), as well as the use of Ayoba’s many news, lifestyle and entertainment channels which includes the viewing of videos (Ayoba Channels).

From 15 April, MTN will reduce its prices across its popular sub-1GB monthly data bundles by up to 50%. The 1GB monthly data bundle will decrease by 33% to R99. MTN will share the additional pricing changes and data value upgrade that will be rolled-out with these price reductions, as soon as the solutions become available to customers.

The price reductions will first become available (on April 20) via USSD and the MTN App. Due to contractual obligations with other channels such as our banking partners, physical voucher providers, point of sale in our stores and the informal trade, those channels will be rolled out from May.

 “Our commitment to driving down the cost to communicate is not new and can be seen in the significant milestones we have achieved over the past three years. These include the dropping of our out-of-bundle rate to just 29c per MB and, just in the past year, a 25% average price drop has been achieved in South Africa.

“Between February 2017 and February 2020, the effective data rate on the MTN network has declined by 76% and it is our intention to continue reducing our prices to the benefit of all our customers,” Motsa says, continuing that MTN is encouraged by Government’s commitment to release much-needed spectrum in the course of this year.

There’s significant urgency for the release of 4G and 5G spectrum, he says.

“MTN has invested R50 billion in infrastructure in the past five years, as we have worked to build ourselves out of the spectrum crunch. The lack of spectrum remains one of the more significant barriers to the further reduction in pricing and we look forward to consistent price changes following the release of spectrum,” says Motsa.

“We appreciate the discussions with the Competition Commission, as well as the engagements we have had with the Minster Stella Ndabeni-Abraham and the regulator, ICASA. We have defined a series of significant voluntary solutions, savings and value additions to our customers and we will continue to work to reduce the cost to communicate, to the benefit of all South Africans,” Motsa says.

Customers will dial *136*5# or *135# free from their phone and select the “Usage Rate” menu option where they will be presented with the following options:

Option 1: View their usage and effective rate for the last 5 bundles purchased in the current calendar month;

Option 2: View affordable bundles based on their unique usage profile; (takes you to purchase)

MTNs reduction follows in the footsteps of Vodacom that heeded the call earlier this year.

Image (MTN SA boss Godrey Motsa have decided to reduce data costs).  

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