The Competition Commission has welcomed the decision for MTN to slash its data costs after reaching a settlement agreement on Wednesday.
The agreement follows the Data Services Market Inquiry (DSMI) report released last year, which found that data in South Africa was excessively expensive, and that MTN and Vodacom charge more at home than in other countries where they have operations.
“The consent agreement is entered into in full and final settlement of the findings in the final report of the DSMI that MTN charged high prepaid data prices in South Africa,” the Commission said it in its statement.
Retail price reduction
MTN has since decided to reduce the price of 30-day prepaid bundles up to 1GB, with the 1GB monthly bundle being reduced to R99.
In addition, from 1 May 2020, the mobile telecommunication company will implement the retail price reductions across all its retail channels, communicate these reductions to all channel partners, and apply these new prices across its channels.
Daily lifeline package
The network will also offer all its customers a daily free data bundle to use in Ayoba, which will be capped.
“The Commission noted that MTN revealed that it implemented the daily lifeline package in respect of the Ayoba chat, media and channels functionalities and it will implement the Ayoba browser functionality.”
MTN said it would also offer all its customers zero-rated access to some South Africa’s Public Benefit Organisations and about 500 websites, focusing on education, healthcare and job recruitment via MTN’s own website, which will be capped at 500MB per month per customer and be subjected to terms and conditions listed in the settlement.
“These websites include health institutions, public universities, Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges, educational resources, educational institutions and employment portals.”
“MTN shall enable all its customers, at no charge, to manage their data usage through an MTN USSD and on the MTNApp.co.za website,” the Commission said.
The Commission said it would institute ongoing monitoring of pricing levels and profitability in the future until the market becomes more competitive.
Meanwhile, Vodacom agreed to drop prices in April already.