MTN said it did not notice any changes in data traffic or data bundle purchases on its network due to the #SocialMediaBlackout. Ange Saint-Truth suggested the “blackout” idea on Twitter, which asked users to stop purchasing data bundles for one day. Musician Ntsiki Mazwa, who promoted #DataMustFall when MTN cancelled its free unlimited Twitter service, also joined in.
In addition to not buying data bundles, Mazwai told followers to stay off social media for the day. The idea was that the reduced traffic and lack of revenue from bundle sales would get the attention of mobile operators and persuade them to lower their prices. Based on MTN’s feedback, the protest had no impact.
Prices have reduced by 75%
“MTN understands that consumers are increasingly being impacted by rising costs across the board during these challenging economic times,” said MTN.
“We continue to look at ways of keeping the costs of both voice and data as reasonable as possible.” It said that over the past few years, MTN has reduced voice and data costs by approximately 75%. “Further to keeping voice and data costs as low as possible, we have also invested around R30 billion in our terrestrial network over the last three years to improve network quality and coverage.”
The network said it will continue to engage its stakeholders on data consumption and spending.
We are listening
Vodacom told MyBroadband it is too early to tell what impact, if any, the #SocialMediaBlackout initiative had from a financial perspective. “We are listening and will be announcing a number of exciting initiatives in the months ahead that we believe will deliver even greater value to our customers,” said Vodacom. “We also encourage people to test drive our Just4You platform – either through the MyVodacom App or through USSD on *123#.”
Vodacom said that through mechanisms like Just4You, it has seen data prices decline by 44% over the past three years.
Following the resurgence of the #DataMustFall campaign, Twitter users are calling for a social media blackout on Wednesday. The call was picked up by musician Ntsiki Mazwai, EWN reported. Mazwai also championed the renewed #DataMustFall campaign yesterday.
#DataMustFall’s return came after MTN cancelled its free unlimited Twitter service. “Due to abuse of the free service, we have had to cap usage to 100MB per day,” said MTN. The cap was subsequently raised to 500MB.
Once you hit the cap, you are charged normal data rates.
Don’t buy data
The “social media blackout” campaign is calling on South Africans to stay off platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Mazwai said that #SocialMediaBlackout is also asking people not to buy mobile data bundles for one day. The protest is about lowering data prices and about data expiry, said Mazwai.
When followers asked how they can support the cause without compromising their need to access the Internet, Mazwai said: “Plan ahead… work around it… let’s just let them feel the pinch for one day.”