However, it is now merely matching the rate charged by MTN and Cell C, namely 99c per Megabyte for prepaid customers. The calls for the high cost of data to fall include demands that MTN and Cell C cut their rates to an affordable level. This means that, while Vodacom has halved its peak rate, it still remains unaffordably high.
For pre-paid and customers on top-up packages, the out-of-bundle rate will drop by as much as 50% once the new 99c per megabyte tariff comes into effect on 15 October. The out-of-bundle rate for post-paid customers was reduced from R1 per megabyte to 89c on 1 October.
“Over the last few years, we’ve significantly brought down the cost of voice tariffs and moved customers to more affordable plans,” said Shameel Joosub, Group CEO of Vodacom. “We undertook to reduce out-of-bundle rates, and we’ve now delivered on that too. This saving on data costs follows our reducing data prices by 18.9% over the last year alone.”
He acknowledged, however that this was not enough.
“More needs to be done. We need to expand 4G coverage still further, and keep pace with an increase of more than 45% in sustained data traffic demand. Both of these come at a cost, and we have invested some R32.7 billion over the last four years. However, lack of access to spectrum is hampering our ability to drive down infrastructure costs and in turn, enable us to pass savings to the consumer.”
Vodacom has recently introduced a series of measures to encourage in-bundle adoption and minimise out-of-bundle usage. These include sending in-bundle data usage notifications which include personalised Just4You offers, which provide better value, and sending customers out-of-bundle data usage reminders which carry the actual rand value. All customers receive the first notification once R10 has been spent out-of-bundle, and depending on the customer profile, they can be sent up to 10 trigger notifications to encourage in-bundle data usage.
“Our Just4You platform provides personalised offers for customers and helps to drive down costs. More than 40% of our customers used voice or data bundles in the past financial year, an increase of around 25%, and our aim is to increase usage still further. Accelerating price reductions for data creates greater value for customers.”