MTN agrees to reduce data prices in South Africa

The Competition Commission in South Africa has reached an agreement with MTN South Africa on the reduction of data prices. The prices and free data are now confirmed as irreversible commitments through an order of the Tribunal.

MTN South Africa has been in negotiations with the Commission, and was also forced to respong quickly in the price changes. Since Vodacom South Africa and the Commission concluded a consent agreement on the 9th of March 2020, which reduced prices for Vodacom South Africa custormers as of the 1st of April 2020.

The Competition Commissioner, Thembinkosi Bonakele stated that MTN South Africa has agreed to reduce the price of 30-day prepaid bundles up to 1GB, with the 1GB monthly bundle being reduced to R99.

“From the 1st of May 2020, MTN South Africa shall implement the retail price reductions across all its retail channels and communicate these reductions to all channel partners in April 2020, and will endeavor to apply these price reductions across all MTN South Africa Channels from the 1st of May 2020.

“As part of the agreement, MTN South Africa will offer free 20MB daily to their customers, to use in Ayoba. The Commission noted that MTN South Africa revealed that it implemented the daily lifeline package in respect of the Ayoba chat, media and channels functionalities on the 12th of March 2020, and is still to implement the Ayoba browser functionality, which is Zero-Rated Access.

“The confirmation of the agreement with MTN South Africa means that all mobile operators have now formally ascribed to the voluntary commitments contained in the recommendations of the Data Market Inquiry for short term price relief to consumers. This successful conclusion of the first phase of recommendations could not have come at a better time given the greater reliance the public has on data during the crisis.

The Commission can now turn their focus on the medium-term recommendations around regularly and legislative change, as well as the development of free public WIFI and alternative broadband infrastructure,” said Competition Commissioner, Thembinkosi Bonakele.

The agreement follows extended discussion between the Commision and MTN South Africa after the Commission initiated the Data Services Market Inquiry (DSMI) and published its final report with findings and recommendations.

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