MTN WhatsAPP bundle of 1GB remains R10 for feature phone users
WhatsApp usage on the MTN network has increased by 300% thanks to the cost effective data buddle.
Earlier this year, 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. 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 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,” says Mapula Bodibe, MTN Executive Consumer Business.
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.
“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.
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 their 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.
For other customers, making use of WhatsApp social bundles, the 1GB WhatsApp bundle will become R30.
“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,” says Bodibe.
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.”