DURBAN: On the back of growing calls for mobile network providers to lower the data costs, Vodacom has responded by announcing internet access to university students.
“Having already zero rated the charge to key basic education sites and career portals, today, Vodacom has taken a decision to zero rate services to universities for students and staff, who are Vodacom subscribers.
“”This in a bid to help address cost challenges associated with access to education content and remote learning for institutions of higher learning. Through this approach, Vodacom has already enabled 19 of the 23 South African Universities, including the University of Cape Town (UCT), with free internet access,” the company said in a statement released today.
South Africans have complained continuously about the high costs of data in the country. Those calls went a few decibels higher after when freedom and expression and access to information advocacy group, The Right2Know Campaign, launched their #DataMustFall campaign.
They lead pickets outside the offices of the country's four major network providers in Johannesburg, calling for high data and airtime prices to be cut.
Vodacom managing executive for the Western Cape region, Alberts Breed, said their intervention illustrated their commitment to advancing learning through Communication Technology (ICT) and mobile technology, which would empower students to find employment.
“Many learners in our country often cannot afford and don’t have access to learning material such as textbooks, which makes excelling at school more difficult. As an investor in the country and an established partner in addressing social challenges, Vodacom’s goal is to contribute to ensuring that learners throughout the country have access to some of the educational tools to help enhance their learning experience.” said Breed.