MTN backtracks on automatic 1MB bundle plan
MTN has back-tracked on its plans to introduce an automatic 1MB data bundle that would have automatically billed consumers 40c per megabyte every time they ran out of data.
The telco was planning to start the service in mid-May for prepaid customers and in June for contract customers.
This afternoon, however, MTN issued a statement saying it would not implement the service because customers had made it clear they did not want it.
"A week ago, MTN informed customers of its intention to make an automatic 1MB universal bundle available to customers, when their bundles expired," MTN says.
It explains that the move was in accordance with the additional changes brought about by the Independent Communications Authority of SA, a day prior to the implementation of the amended End-User and Subscriber Service Charter (EUSSC) regulations.
The revised regulations state that where a customer does not make an election (to opt into or out of out-of-bundle), and in circumstances where an operator chooses to continue to provide data services (which means not ending the data session), such services must be on the same terms and conditions applicable under in-bundle usage, the operator says.
According to MTN, the aim of the automatic 1MB universal bundle was to ensure customers would remain connected and would have avoided customers being cut off mid-session.
"The automatic bundle was designed to better serve our customers' connectivity needs and at low rate. Our intention is to provide our customers with user-friendly solutions, off our world-class network, in a manner that best connects them to their daily lives," says Mapula Bodibe, MTN SA executive for the Consumer Business Unit.
The automatic 1MB universal bundle would have cost customers 40c/MB compared to out-of-bundle billing which is 49c/MB.
"We remain committed to compliance and respect both the intention and spirit of the regulations and laws that govern our sector and we have also heard the concerns raised by our customers in response to this proposed offering. Our customers have made it clear that they do not want the automatic bundle option and we have therefore taken the decision not to implement the change," explains Bodibe.
MTN says currently, all customers that have not actively chosen to opt in to out-of-bundle (OOB) usage remain blocked from using OOB data, as per MTN's implementation of the EUSSC regulations in February.