MTN has increased the price of WhatsApp bundles from R10 to R30. File Photo: REUTERS, DADO RUVIC
DURBAN - MTN has officially increased the price of their WhatsApp bundle from R10 to R30 for certain customers.

The increase in the WhatsApp bundle pricing will only affect people that spend more than R10 on WhatsApp per month. 

Customers that spend less than R10 per month on WhatsApp are deemed vulnerable and will continue to pay R10 for the bundle. 

The vulnerable customers will have to use MTN's *142# menu on MyMTNOffers in order to access the R10 WhatsApp bundle. These customers mainly use feature phones (3G handsets).

Users of feature phones make up a significant part of MTN's customer base and this is particularly apparent in the rural areas of South Africa. 

Mapula Bodibe said, "S pend on these 3G handsets in rural areas, tends to be on the much lower end and we want to continue to offer affordable data access through WhatsApp bundles to this group of South Africans, who need to communicate but whom can least afford it".

MTN also said that in the coming month they will be offering more personalised bundles. The company said that the bundles will be moulded to the customer and offered directly to the customer based on location, usage, affordability, and network capacity. 

"Specialised offers, that provide customers with only the content they desire, rather than generic bundles and pricing, is increasingly what our making customers are asking for and we are making that happen," said MTN. 

They added that this personalisation approach will help add extra value for their customers and they will continue to work on delivering great value and service off their network. 

According to the mobile carrier, the response from people to the R10 WhatsApp bundle was exceptional. The company said that since the R10 WhatsApp bundle was launched in April this year, the usage of WhatsApp on the MTN network has increased by 300%. 

The increase in WhatsApp usage since April resulted in an "unintended consequence" for the network. MTN said that there has been an enormous increase in demand on their 3G network.

According to MTN, they will be investing R200 million in the 3G network to accommodate the large spike in traffic that has been driven by the by the demand for WhatsApp. 

Twitter

Although the prices in WhatsApp have increased with MTN, the mobile carrier will continue to offer their free Twitter service.

With this service, customers get access to free Twitter data each month. The service was launched three years ago and customers do not need to opt in or have a minimum balance in order to access Free Twitter. 

A customer usage review revealed that 99,1% of MTN Twitter users are using less than 500MB every day while 80% of users use less than 10MB of Twitter data per day. 

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE