Data prices will fall as Competition Commission and MTN reach agreement
The Competition Commission and mobile network MTN have reached an agreement that will see reduced data prices.
The commission said on Thursday that a consent agreement concluded between itself and MTN to reduce data prices had been finalised.
“This follows the commmission’s data services market inquiry, its resulting findings and recommendations as well as discussions between the commission and MTN,” the commission said.
According to the agreement, MTN undertook:
- to reduce the price of 30-day prepaid bundles across channels;
- to implement the retail price reductions across all its retail channels;
- to communicate these reductions to all channel partners and to apply these reductions across all MTN channels;
- to offer all its customers a daily free capped data bundle; and
- to offer all its customers capped zero-rated access to certain public benefit organisations and other websites, subject to a maximum of 500 websites focusing on education, health care and job recruitment via MTN's own website, which will be subject to terms and conditions; and
- MTN records that it implemented the daily lifeline package in respect of the Ayoba chat, media and channels functionalities on March 12 2020, and was to implement the Ayoba browser functionality on June 1 2020.
MTN also undertook to enable all its customers to manage their data usage through an MTN USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) and on MTN’s website, at no charge, the commission said.
“The commission’s inquiry resulted from persistent concerns about the apparent high data prices in South Africa and the importance of data affordability for consumers and the economy in general.
“The commission published its final report in December 2019, finding that data prices in the country were high. It noted several recommendations relevant to the consent agreement which it subsequently concluded with MTN,” the statement read.
The recommendations were in relation to tariff levels, which included prepaid monthly bundles, data bundles, price discrimination strategies that adversely affect lower income consumers, a lifeline package for all prepaid subscribers, and zero-rating of certain content among other recommendations.
“Following the publication of the final report, the commission and MTN engaged in discussions to reach an agreement on mutually acceptable solutions aimed at addressing the concerns raised in the final report,” said the commission.