This forms part of a broader Vodacom Group programme to create a Social Contract with its stakeholders that will address pressing societal challenges in each of the markets in which it operates.
Commenting on the latest Competition Commission announcement, Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub, said: “Following the release of the Competition Commission’s Final Data Market Inquiry Report in December last year, Vodacom decided to engage constructively with the Commission on the issues arising from the report. The agreement struck with the Commission provides us with an opportunity to enter into a Social Contract with the regulators, our customers and the people of South Africa to bring down the cost to communicate and promote digital inclusion. In terms of the agreement, and following confirmation by the Tribunal, Vodacom will introduce price reductions across all its monthly bundles and provide free access to basic internet, essential services and cheaper pricing to the poorest communities. This will promote greater digital inclusion and assist with societal problems in education and unemployment.”
In terms of the agreement, and following confirmation by the Tribunal, Vodacom will introduce price reductions across all its monthly bundles and provide free access to basic internet, essential services and cheaper pricing to the poorest communities.Shameel Joosub, CEO Vodacom Group
Over the past three years, Vodacom has made significant progress in reducing the cost to communicate and making data more accessible, particularly for poorer consumers and communities. For example, in 2019, we announced substantial cuts in out-of-bundle tariffs and introduced hourly, daily and weekly bundles with much lower effective prices to drive affordability in addition to overall reductions in bundle prices. These measures contributed to R2 billion in savings for customers and the circa 50% reduction in effective data prices in the past two years.
In line with our purpose of connecting people to a better future, education has been and remains integral to Vodacom in driving digital inclusion. To this end, Vodacom has already connected over 3000 schools and, in partnership with the Department of Basic education, runs 92 teacher training centres and 10 Youth Academies. Vodacom also provides free access to the portals of most of the country’s public universities.
“Having heard the concerns raised by the Competition Commission, we proactively entered into a Social Contract with government and the public. We did this at a time when South African consumers are under increasing financial pressure and on the understanding that action will be taken by ICASA and Government to auction high demand spectrum. Delays in assigning spectrum and completing the digital migration has curbed the pace at which data prices could have fallen,” adds Shameel.