MTN South Africa has implemented new data rollover, transfer and out-of-bundle features to comply with Icasa’s new data regulations and has said it won’t charge users for data rollover or to transfer data to other users on its network.
Vodacom faced a public relations nightmare earlier this week when it said it would charge for data rollover and to transfer data to other users. It backed down partially after a social media storm erupted but announced it would hike prices instead on some of its packages from 1 April.
“MTN will not be charging any fees for the rollover of unused data,” MTN said on Friday. However, users must buy another data bundle before the existing one expires to enjoy the benefit.
MTN said a phased implementation of the changes began last year December with selected MTN customers receiving notifications when they had depleted or used 50%, 80% and 100% of their monthly data, voice or SMS bundle allocation, or inclusive price plan benefits, the company said on Friday.
“From today, customers who make use of data bundles, will automatically be barred from going out of bundle (OOB), unless they have opted in to OOB,” MTN said. “By opting in to the OOB rates, customers are giving the operator permission to continue servicing their data demands at OOB rates, which are 49c/MB for MTN prepaid customers while it varies for MTN post-paid (contract) customers.”
MTN spokeswoman Jacqui O’Sullivan said the 49c OOB rate is for bundle users, and ad hoc data users without a bundle will pay just 29c/MB, a new headline rate introduced a month ago.
“Post-paid and prepaid customers buying data bundles need to know that their data access will be locked when their bundles run out or expire and only they can unlock it to continue accessing their favourite apps, movies, Internet sites and social media channels online,” the company said. “Customers would then need to buy a new data bundle or opt in to OOB data charges.”
MTN said it has also launched an “Auto-Renew” bundle option. Customers will have an option to auto-renew their data bundle once it’s used up or expires, so every time the data bundle is depleted, they will automatically be reloaded with another data bundle of the same size and validity. “This will be charged from their prepaid airtime or contract usage limits and will help ensure consistent and seamless connectivity at a preferred data bundle rate. Customers will need to select the Auto-Renew option when they purchase their bundle to access this service.”
DataShare rules, meanwhile, remain unchanged and customers can activate MTN’s data share service as an add-on service free of charge. This offers customers the ability to share inclusive data, once-off add-ons and recurring bundles with friends, family and or up to 20 MTN numbers other devices.
MTN has also ensured that its rule and system changes accommodate corporate clients that have discount or split billing agreements in place. —© 2019 NewsCentral Media