Vodacom cutting out-of-bundle data pricing

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Vodacom group CEO Shameel Joosub.
Vodacom group CEO Shameel Joosub.

Vodacom has announced it will be significantly reducing out-of-bundle data prices for all customers from mid-October.

For pre-paid and customers on top-up packages, the out-of-bundle rate will drop by as much as 50% once the new 99c per megabyte (MB) tariff comes into effect on 15 October. The out-of-bundle rate for post-paid customers was already reduced from R1 per MB to 89c on 1 October.

Vodacom group CEO Shameel Joosub says that over the last few years the group has brought down the cost of voice tariffs. The undertaking to reduce out-of-bundle data rates also follows Vodacom's reduction in data prices of 18.9% over the last year.

"More needs to be done. We need to expand 4G coverage still further, and keep pace with an increase of more than 45% in sustained data traffic demand. Both of these come at a cost, and we have invested some R32.7 billion over the last four years. However, lack of access to spectrum is hampering our ability to drive down infrastructure costs and in turn, enable us to pass savings to the consumer," adds Joosub.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) in August published new draft regulations which included that consumers would be able to choose to opt-out or opt-in to out-of-bundle pricing on data, voice and SMS services. ICASA's proposed regulations also required operators to send data depletion notifications at regular intervals.

Vodacom says all its customers receive a first notification once R10 has been spent out-of-bundle, and depending on the customer profile, they can be sent up to 10 trigger notifications to encourage in-bundle data usage.

"More than 40% of our customers used voice or data bundles in the past financial year, an increase of around 25%, and our aim is to increase usage still further," concludes Joosub.

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