Vodacom offers 1GB of free no strings data

2014-05-09 17:18
Vodacom has upped the ante with a 50c call rate promotion. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Vodacom has upped the ante with a 50c call rate promotion. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - As part of its 20 year birthday celebrations, Vodacom has offered subscribers 1GB of data for Sunday.

"On Sunday, we're giving all Vodacom customers 1GB of free data to use for the day. No strings attached, just a huge thank-you for being with us over the last 20 years," said CEO Shameel Joosub.

He reflected on being one of the founders when former CEO Alan Knott-Craig was pushing the operator to roll out a network to cover the major centres and national roads in an unprecedented programme in SA.

"We couldn't have imagined in our wildest dreams how quickly the company would grow and how large the business would eventually become," said Joosub.

After 20 years, the company faces new pressures as the regulator is demanding that big operators drop their MTRs or Mobile Termination Rates. These are the rates that competitors pay each other for calls that terminate on rival networks.

Data spending

Icasa wants Vodacom and MTN to pay Cell C and Telkom nearly double what they get in return and though legal action has forced the regulator to backtrack, its vision seems clear on this issue.

Competition has forced prices down and Vodacom has seen that data is on a strong growth curve as especially younger people abandon spending on voice for data.

"You're definitely going to see such huge growth in the consumption of data that by 2020, it will probably outstrip voice. Voice will become part of data by then and then the networks will come up with a slightly different model for billing for voice calls over data," Steven Ambrose, CEO of Strategy Worx told News24.

A Mobility 2014 research survey conducted by World Wide Worx in conjunction with First National bank revealed that 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%.

Prices

Speaking at the presentation of Vodacom's annual results, Joosub said that company revenue was on the increase, despite falling prices for data.

"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%."

The mobile operator is pushing to expand its higher speed Long Term Evolution network, despite no clear direction from Icasa on spectrum allocation.

To check your balance on your free 1GB allocation, Vodacom subscribers should dial *111*600#. The data will be valid until 23:59 pm on 11 May 2014.


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