Free 30GB month-to-month data bundle for Wits students

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Starting today, students at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) will receive a free 30GB data bundle to support their remote learning efforts.

This comes as leading mobile operator Vodacom partnered with Wits, to offer students free data on a month-to-month basis to keep them connected to higher learning activities.

Under alert level three of the national lockdown, only 33% of the student population is expected to return to campuses, while all other students will be supported through remote multi-modal teaching, learning and assessment until they return to classrooms.

There have been concerns, however, that the multi-modal and remote learning system disadvantages a significant number of students based in underprivileged areas, especially in terms of data and devices to access online learning content.

To address the data hurdle, Vodacom has committed to provide each Wits student with a 30GB data bundle to remain connected and continue their education while they are away from campus.

“We can all agree that success begins with education. For many students, remote learning is a challenge as they do not have the means to access online learning materials. As remote learning becomes a necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vodacom Business is proud to partner with Wits to support education and the development of tomorrow’s future business leaders by keeping students connected. Investing in education and improving connectivity plays a key role in fast-tracking our country into the fourth industrial revolution,” says William Mzimba, chief officer for Vodacom Business.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel adds: “Wits University is committed to ensuring its students can access online teaching and learning through the provision of devices and data. This partnership with Vodacom provides our students with the data required to continue with their education and to move forward with their studies.”

In April, the universities of Witwatersrand and Johannesburg announced similar agreements with Vodacom. However, that partnership was only for one month.

Now, Vodacom’s partnership with Wits goes beyond one month, with the mobile operator saying: “At this stage, it [the partnership] will be on month-to-month basis and assessed each month as the situation unfolds.”

According to Vodacom, the recurring data bundle provides Wits students with access to learning sites for up to a maximum of 30GB per month.

The offer is made up of 10GB any time URL data to access specific university sites for e-learning and home study, and 20GB night owl data, valid between midnight and 04:59 daily.

“Non-Vodacom Wits students were given the option to purchase a R5 Vodacom SIM card and then RICA it at any Vodacom-accredited outlet. To receive this data allocation, students needed to update their new Vodacom phone number as part of their student record with the university. As part of the package and agreement with the university, Vodacom agreed to reimburse students for the cost of the SIM card with airtime to the value of R5.

“If students deplete their free bundle, they can top up their data by dialling *135# or visit MyVodacom app if they are a top-up or prepaid customer. Credit card payment options are now available for all data bundle purchases on the MyVodacom app. Data bundles will be allocated to students monthly, with the full amount given on the 1st of each month.”

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