Relief as cellphone service providers cut data prices

Telecom customers can breathe a sigh of relief as they are poised to save money on data. This as cellphone service providers slash their prices for prepaid data bundles.

Cellphone giant Vodacom has implemented a reduction on its prepaid data bundles in compliance with an agreement reached with the Competition Commission based on recommendations made by the Data Services Market Inquiry (DSMI) in December 2019.

Commission spokesperson Siyabulela Makunga said Vodacom has reduced pricing on selected 30-day data bundles by up to 14%.

The latest price reduction includes a 14% price cut – from R99 to R85 – on the 1GB data bundle and was effected on April 1.

Vodacom has also allocated up to 33% more data on selected 30-day bundles.

Furthermore, Vodacom reintroduced the 30-day 2GB bundle at R159 to give customers wider choice and more value.

Tariffs on the 50MB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB and 20GB 30-day bundles remain unchanged.

“In terms of the DSMI, the commission recommended prices for 30-day prepaid data bundles of MTN and Vodacom be reduced, with a particular focus on smaller bundles where effective prices were significantly higher, resulting in a disproportionate effect on lower volume, poorer consumers,” Makunga said.

He said the commission estimates that the first round of price reductions agreed between the commission, Vodacom and MTN, respectively, resulted in savings for consumers of over R3bn last year.

“The initial round of price reductions resulted in purchases by consumers clearly moving from shorter-validity bundles to the greater value 30-day bundles, which enables consumers to remain connected rather than rely on an inferior intermittent service,” he said.

Makunga said the commission has also monitored the compliance with and impact of other commitments across all the major operators and these have resulted in the usage of thousands of newly zero-rated sites and significant usage of free/lifeline data, giving further value to consumers.

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