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Vodacom to cut its data prices

Agrees to expand its zero-rated services through prepaid tariff plan.
Image: Moneyweb

Vodacom has agreed to cut headline data prices and will expand its zero-rating of certain websites in an agreement with the Competition Commission.

The settlement is a moderation by the commission of its previous hard-line approach contained in its final report into the data services market, released in early December.

Vodacom said the agreement will pass R2.7 billion/year back in value to its customers. Group CEO Shameel Joosub said the agreement is a “social contract” to bring down the cost to communicate.

Specifically, 1GB monthly bundles will decline from their current highest rate of R149 to no more than R99, or a 34% price decrease. It should be noted, of course, that R99 1GB bundles were already available through some Vodacom channels. Customers that buy smaller-sized bundles, which typically are the poorest, will see the greatest benefit of these price decreases.

Announcing the agreement, competition commissioner Thembinkosi Bonakele said Vodacom has agreed to a “substantial two-year reduction of data bundles across the board” from 1 April.

Vodacom has also agreed to expand its zero-rated services through a prepaid tariff plan called Connect U. These include free access to education, health and various government websites.

Free Wikipedia
“These institutions will be able to apply to have their portals zero-rated through a clear and transparent process,” the commission said.

Vodacom will provide zero-rated access to Wikipedia, too. In addition, Vodacom will allow customers to apply for job opportunities on seven zero-rated jobs portals.

Furthermore, Vodacom will provide a free basic means of communication, providing free access in partnership with Facebook. Facebook Flex is a low data alternative to Facebook that enables customers to stay socially connected. The commission appears to have backed down on a requirement to provide free “lifeline” data to all customers.

Customers can also access local and international news, weather on the Facebook Flex platform, free of charge, it said.

Vodacom will extend the current zero-rating to essential state and emergency sites to enable citizens to access emergency service sand government services. The list extends to more than 20 sites and includes services in the departments of health, education and home affairs. This will be phased in over two months from 1 April.

The operator will extend personalised discounts to more suburbs and villages. Discount levels have been withheld for “competition reasons”.

Through the Connect U offering, it will provide two free SMSes daily to all active prepaid customers. – © 2020 NewsCentral Media

Duncan McLeod is Editor of TechCentral

This article was first published on TechCentral here.

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COMMENTS   7

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Why does Data still expire? I thought there was a decision against the networks doing this…

The real losers in this change is the shareholders – share has behaved like an ill tempered dog since September last year

The cell co’s need to reimburse the money they make on expired data. The data doesn’t go bad.

And if one is on a contract? Tried changing to a package for more data to pay Vodacom more.

My choice pay up the old package (aka pay a fine) and then get new data

Or buy a second sim card and pay for 2 contracts
Or just to up with very expensive top up data which expires in 60 days.

$29 unlimited data and voice when I was in America 5 FIVE years ago. These cellular companies have been gouging the public for a long long time! $29 = R 493

I’m on Vodacom Fibre at the moment.

They are far, far, far worse than our Telkom ADSL was.

On 10Mbps fibre we are frequently getting speeds of less than 1Mpbs.

This never happened in the 10 years that we were on Telkom 10Mbps ADSL.

Try get support from Vodacom. They don’t answer. Don’t even call you back. I got a call from them 8 days after I posted a Hello Peter comment and even then they didn’t know what they were talking about. They thought that the line had not yet been installed.

I got offered a ”cracker” of a deal by Vodacom only to find out the new price was simply added to my old payments actually increasing monthly payments.BEWARE

End of comments.

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