Vodacom zero-rates data charges for student websites

Johannesburg - Mobile network Vodacom has zero-rated data costs for key university websites for student and staff subscribers, amid a growing demand for data prices to fall. 

The move is part of a bid to help address cost challenges associated with access to education content and remote learning for institutions of higher learning.

In a statement on Wednesday, Vodacom said it has already enabled 19 of the 23 South African universities, including the University of Cape Town (UCT), to access free internet access at certain key websites. 

The initiative only applies to Vodacom subscribers. 

Vodacom told Fin24 that it has zero-rated traffic to websites identified by the universities as the most important for their staff and students.

UCT vice-chancellor Max Price said the University is grateful to Vodacom for providing the resource.

“The service will be very useful to our students in that it will enable them to do their work off-campus without worrying about data costs or without having the need to travel to campus,” he said. 

In the case of UCT, the identified addresses will include UCT’s website, its online library, and other important classroom and general interactive university sites.

Other universities have similar deals with Vodacom to make their websites and library resources free. 

"For requirements over and above the zero rated content, Vodacom has launched an e-rate i.e. billing all data traffic to agreed sites at 50% of the normal data rates for all universities," it said in a statement. 

Vodacom managing executive for Western Cape Region Alberts Breed said in a statement that mobile technology could be utilised to improve and advance learning, address skills development and help job-seekers find employment. 


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