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MTN announces ‘lifeline data’

As part of its agreement with the Competition Commission, MTN will give all customers 20MB free data every day, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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COVID-19 crisis: Most Mobile Money transactions free

MTN SA also announced today that it had implemented a number of measures to minimise disruptions for communities, businesses, schoolchildren and families as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“MTN has amplified its monitoring of critical infrastructure to ensure the maximum network availability for all our customers,” it said. “This is also helping ensure MTN provides sufficient capacity to accommodate the increased work-from-home traffic.”

MTN has also zero-rated a USSD line (*130*119#) for reporting infections and for other critical information. Two zero-rated Ayoba COVID-19 channels are already live and are sharing updated news and information.

MTN is also working with the National Department of Health to raise awareness of its official “Dept of Health Corona” WhatsApp channel. The Department is calling on South Africans to save the number 060 012 3456 and to message “hi” to receive the latest updates directly from the experts. MTN will be sending messages to its 29 million customers to encourage use of the channel, rather than flooding the already overloaded hotline with calls. 

To reduce the circulation of cash – a major infection vector – MTN’s MoMo app will, from Monday, allow for free peer-to-peer cash payments under R200. Card-to-wallet, instant EFT, and payments to agents and participating retailers will also be zero-rated. In addition, the charge to send non-MoMo users a cash voucher will be made a flat rate of R10, rather than the normal sliding scale that is linked to the value of the cash being shared.

MTN is also working with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Siyavula Foundation to make sure that Grade 10, 11 and 12 learners stay on top of their curriculum material. Access to the e-learning platform of the Siyavula Foundation is already zero-rated for all MTN customers. Now the MTN Foundation has sponsored all Grade 10, 11 and 12 students to have full access to the mathematics, CAT and IT and Physical Sciences, learning materials, including practise sheets and exam preparation content. This can be accessed using the Siyavula website (www.siyavula.com) and via the Siyavula app (available in the Google Play Store).  

“By providing all Grade 10 -12 Mathematics, CAT and IT and Physical Sciences learners with unlimited practice and exam questions at their level, automatically marking their answers, showing full model solutions and a real-time dashboard to track their progress, we enable them to take ownership of their learning,” says Dr Mark Horner, physicist and founder of Siyavula Education.

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