MTN offers free Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia

2014-05-02 10:37
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Mobile operator MTN has launched a range of internet packages that offer free access for selected sites.

On Thursday, MTN announced a series of promotional bundles that would see free access for Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter.

The company launched MTN Internet Explore and for R10, users get access to the online encyclopaedia, as well internet traffic.

However, the data is limited to 25MB and customers are required to use the Opera Mini browser to access the service.

MTN Chat costs R15 and offers instant message platforms Mxit, BBM, 2Go and WeChat, as well Twitter and Facebook. This is capped at 40MB.

The top package is MTN Smartphone Plus which costs R39 and has a 250MB cap.

Campaign

The move is an indication of the operator's drive to ramp up its profile after a damaging public relations exercise over Mobile Termination Rates.

MTRs are what operators pay each other for calls termination on rival networks and the regulator has insisted that these rates decline asymmetrically to advantage Cell C and Telkom Mobile.

MTN and Vodacom began legal proceedings, eventually causing Icasa or the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, to backtrack from its position, but not before Cell C had run a campaign describing MTN as greedy.

"It's a very sad day for this country. MTRs have been around since we started... For the first time government has really gone out there with the regulator and said: 'Let's create a framework that allows fair competition,'" Cell C acting CEO Jose Dos Santos told News24 about the impending lawsuit.

"Consumers will maintain that they have been ripped off for far too long in this environment, and the public outcry in reaction to MTN's court action will be largely negative for the networks," said Steven Ambrose, CEO of Strategy Worx.

MTN has since gone on the offensive with a bold flat call rate reduction to 79c on prepaid, targeting Cell C which has long advertised its 99c per minute call rate.


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