MTN makes data deals permanent

2013-12-04 10:40
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Mobile data price war continue to benefit South African consumers as the operators drop the cost of connecting smart devices to the internet.

MTN on Wednesday announced that its data promotions were now permanent as the company looked to take on Vodacom in SA.

"We at first extended the data offerings promotion to our customers, but have now decided to make it permanent to provide our customers a bold, new digital world," said Brian Gould Gouldie, chief Marketing Officer at MTN SA.

Junior operator Cell C currently offers data at 15c per megabyte and the price contributed to disrupting the data market. Competitors reacted with a variety of pricing offers to reduce the cost of smartphone data.

MTN's data promotions of R10 for 20MB up to R249 for 2GB are now permanent.


The company hinted that the rise in demand from consumers had driven the price cut.

"The Internet Bundle rate reduction has proven to be extremely successful with customers, addressing their need to be connected at all times, with the rise of internet data consumption requirements," said Gouldie.

According to the Mobility 2014 research study, conducted by World Wide Worx with the backing of First National Bank, people in the 19 - 24 age group are abandoning spending on voice calls in favour of data.

The results show that voice declined to 56% of the group's cellphone expense, down around 10% from 2012, while spending on data increased from 17% to 24%.

Data spend, on the other hand increased from 12% to 16%.

For operators, data has emerged as a key revenue generator and Vodacom reported that data revenue was on a roll, despite price declines.

"Group data revenue increased 29%, even as we actively reduced data prices. In South Africa as an example, the average price per megabyte came down 16%," Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub told News24.

Penetration rates

SA leads the Sub-Saharan region in terms of mobile penetration, the GSM Association Sub-Saharan Mobile Economy report found.

"If we look at the data, the South African market is far ahead of all other markets in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of penetration, 3G penetration, smartphone penetration," Peter Lyons, director of Public Policy Africa Middle East at the GSM Association told News24.

The report found that 3G penetration rates in SA stood at 39.3%, while the region's average was only 7.6%.

Spectrum, however, remains a key obstacle in rolling out higher speed data networks.

The Draft National Broadband Policy calls for an acceleration in the allocation the key 800MHz spectrum required for higher speed mobile data.

"Delays in the allocation of high-demand spectrum to roll out the next generation (4G) networks creates a severe constraint on operators' ability to meet demand and improve broadband uptake in the access networks," the document says.

The new communications minister has committed the department to move on the issue of spectrum allocation.

"Obviously, we have to move with speed too on spectrum policy. We aim to finalise the Spectrum Policy by March 2014. This includes the issue of high-demand spectrum for broadband, which is linked to digital migration," said Minister of Communications Yunus Carrim at the Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference.

Here are MTN's new data subscription rates:

20MB @R10
100MB @R29
300MB @R79
500MB @99
1GB @R149
2GB @R249

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

Read more on:    mtn  |  vodacom  |  mobile

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