MTN SA reiterates commitment to free Twitter and adjusts WhatsApp pricing

MTN has reiterated its commitment to continue its Free Twitter promotion while also announcing the repricing of its very popular WhatsApp social media bundles.

Free Twitter:

MTN has confirmed that it will continue offering its hugely popular Free Twitter service, that gives all customers access to free Twitter data each month. 

The Free Twitter promotion, that is unique to MTN, has attracted millions of users since its inception three years ago. Customers do not need to opt in and no minimum balance is required to access Free Twitter on MTN.

A review of customer usage has revealed that 99.1% of all Twitter users on MTN are using substantially less than 500MB every day. Of all the users, 80% are using no more than 10MB of Twitter data per day.

“We want to keep bringing our customers closer to news, current affairs, family, friends and topical interests and MTN’s Free Twitter service helps make that happen. We’re seeing a very small number of customers using excessive amounts of data via Twitter and those people will be the only ones affected by a cap of 500MB per day,” says Mapula Bodibe, Executive Consumer Business.

“In the limited instances where we are seeing excessive use, it’s clear that the Free Twitter IP is being hacked to stream IPs that are not free, while we are also seeing huge files and videos being transferred, resulting in excessive usage. Our focus is to protect the network experience of millions of customers who engage with this service, Bodibe says.

WhatsApp Social Bundle pricing

In April 2018 MTN launched its social bundles and introduced a monthly WhatsApp bundle of 1GB for just R10. This unprecedented pricing aimed to further drive down the cost to communicate for South Africans.

“All South Africans deserve the benefits of a connected life and our first attempt at a very low-cost WhatsApp bundle aimed to create those connections for South Africans across the country, regardless of whether those customers are in cities, suburbs or rural areas,” says Bodibe.

The public’s response has been exceptional. WhatsApp usage on the MTN network has increased by 300% in the past two months. Millions of South Africans are using WhatsApp on our network and millions more have been buying these bundles.

An unintended consequence of this low-priced WhatsApp data has been an extraordinary increase in demand on MTN’s 3G network. MTN’s dual data strategy has seen consistent and sustained investment in both our 3G and 4G networks over the past few years to deliver a world class network experience. In addition to this, MTN is currently investing a further R200 million in the 3G network, to accommodate the huge spike in traffic that is being driven by the demand for WhatsApp. 

MTN’s WhatsApp bundle will be repriced from R10 to R30, however, the most vulnerable South Africans that are currently spending less than R10 on WhatsApp per month, will be protected from the change in pricing and will still have access to this low-cost WhatsApp bundles.

“These customers, who are primarily using feature phones on our 3G network, will still pay just R10 a month for their WhatsApp access which will be offered to them via MTN’s *142# menu on MyMTNOffers.

For other customers, making use of WhatsApp social bundles, the 1GB WhatsApp bundle will become R30 as of 16 July 2018.

“Social media usage remains a dynamic and ever-changing environment. Our commitment remains to continue driving down the cost of data with a strong focus on alleviating pressure on the most vulnerable in our society. However, to protect the quality of our 3G network for all South Africans, we are having to make this difficult decision.”

A significant portion of MTN’s current customer base make use of feature phones (3G handsets) and this is particularly evident in rural parts of South Africa.

“Spend on these 3G handsets in rural areas, tends to be on the much lower end and we want to continue to offer affordable data access through WhatsApp bundles to this group of South Africans, who need to communicate but whom can least afford it,” Bodibe says. 

In the coming months, MTN will increasingly offer more personalised products to meet the unique needs of its different customers through its MyMTNOffers service. These offers will be designed around the customers unique needs and offered directly to the customer, based on their location, usage, affordability and network capacity available.

“Specialised offers, that provide customers with only the services, volume and content that customers desire, will increasingly be the norm, rather than generic bundles and pricing, to deliver services that our customers are asking for and making their lives brighter.”

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