Tag: data

By Brett Venter for Stuff

South African insurance provider QSure was struck by a major data breach earlier this month, one that led to banking information and other sensitive data being compromised. The company hasn’t said how many records were scooped during the intrusion.

Hope they have insurance for this
Company COO Ian du Toit, speaking to TechCentral, said “On 9 June 2021, QSure became aware that it had been subject to illegal and unauthorised access to its IT infrastructure, and immediately isolated its IT network and shut down its systems.”

Du Toit added, “QSure immediately appointed three industry-leading and independent cyber-forensic and security technology firms to conduct a detailed forensic investigation into the cybersecurity incident.” He pointed out that the company has notified insurers, brokers and the relevant regulators with regards to the breach.

Data collected includes “…includes banking details, limited to the account holder name, bank account numbers and bank branch codes”, while “…policyholder identity numbers, credit card details, any form of contact details, or policy content” were not accessed. So it’s not as bad as it could have been, but it’s still… less than ideal.

QSure provides services to the South African insurance industry, including collections and premium handling, so while you may not have heard of them, there’s a chance you’ve come into contact with them at some point. If you’re affiliated with Hollard in any way, you might want to check your emails for communication in this regard.

It’s not a good month for companies. If it’s not ransomware (which is arguably the better option for end-users) then it’s data breaches. This insurance hack is just the latest in a terrible month for cyber-security.

 

By Admire Moyo for ITWeb 

The South African government − through the proposed data policy, the Draft National Policy on Data and Cloud − wants to be the co-owner of all data generated in the country.

This is according to law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, which says the policy has already attracted widespread debate among commentators, with many saying it raises issues around privacy and has the potential to scare off much-needed investment in the sector.

On 1 April, the minister of communications and digital technologies published a Draft National Data and Cloud Policy, together with an invitation for interested parties to submit written submissions to the department within 30 business days of publication of the draft policy, by 18 May.

However, the deadline has now been extended to 1 June.

Heather Irvine, partner at Bowmans, says the draft policy aims to transform SA’s economy into a digital economy that is both data-intensive and data-driven.

In particular, she says, the draft policy acknowledges the need to realise the socio-economic value of data through policy and law and to ensure open data, which is defined in the draft policy as “…data that is made freely available for use, re-use and republishing as [a party wishes], subject to ensuring protection of privacy, confidentiality and security in line with the Constitution”.

The draft policy proposes to develop a state digital infrastructure company and high-performance computing and data processing centre.

It also aims to consolidate excess capacity of publicly-funded data centres and deliver processing, data facilities and cloud computing capacity. Government also plans to develop ICT special economic zones, hubs and transformation centres.

Digital infrastructure
In its draft policy, the department states: “South Africa’s effective response to these challenges will depend significantly on the extent to which it exploits opportunities presented by the digital economy, through the development of policy frameworks that harness the economic and social potential of data and cloud computing.

“Such policy frameworks should be citizen-centric and support already existing government initiatives of universal access and affordability of services. Most importantly, the frameworks should ensure challenges associated with lack of access to digital infrastructure, devices, software, applications and digital skills are addressed.”

Thabo Mashegoane, president of the Institute of IT Professionals South Africa (IITPSA), says the draft policy indicates government is considering the gravity of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and taking a progressive stand on digital development.

“This is an indication that government is moving to try to overcome challenges that have hampered its digital progress in the past – such as concerns about security when storing and moving data of national importance,” he says.

“At the same time, it indicates a willingness to address issues such as SMME access to digital technologies, a lack of digital skills in the country, and the barriers to entry preventing millions of South Africans from benefiting from the 4IR.”

However, IITPSA board member Moira de Roche notes the draft raises questions around why government would create a new platform and state-owned company to focus on data and networking, particularly since the primary purpose of government should be to set, implement and monitor policy.

She says the private sector is well-placed to partner with government on the implementation of a high-performance computing and data processing centre.

“While a Centre for High-Performance Computing exists in Cape Town, run by the CSIR [Council for Scientific and Industrial Research], there is an opportunity to expand the scope of these centres. If the private sector is brought in, and they can run the centre in a way that affords small and medium businesses access to cloud computing at a reasonable price, then it could be very beneficial.”

Informed policy development
Law firm Michalsons points out that the policy “seeks to strengthen the capacity of the state to deliver services to its citizens; ensure informed policy development based on data analytics; as well as promote South Africa’s data sovereignty and the security thereof”.

It adds this policy seeks to enable South Africans to realise the socio-economic value of data through the alignment of existing policies, legislation and regulations.

The policy further seeks to put in place a conducive and enabling environment for the data ecosystem to thrive, Michalsons notes.

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies states the lack of proper policy guidelines with regard to data generation and storage could pose a threat to national security.

Commenting on this possibility, Christoff Pienaar, director and national head of the technology, media and telecommunications practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, says data has always been a very important part of the national security concept.

“Inadequate data protection legislation could be a threat to national security, especially economic security. The reason for this is that countries with weak data protection legislation are perceived as unsafe destinations for data sharing and storage, and this in turn has economic consequences for such countries’ ICT sector,” he says.

 

By Wendy Tembedza for Webber Wentzel

​​​All businesses with employees, customers and suppliers must comply with POPIA, which comes into effect on 1 July 2021. Here’s a practical guide to the most important aspects.

With the commencement date of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPI) of 1 July 2021 fast approaching, businesses should be reviewing their use of personal information to determine if it complies with the Act. It is important to understand that any business that has employees, customers and suppliers must comply with POPI when dealing with personal information. Below are a few tips on ways businesses can kick-start their compliance exercise.

Figure out what personal information you process and why
Under POPI, a business must be able to justify why it holds personal information based on one of the several justifications set out in POPI. This is a good opportunity for a business to assess what information it collects (whether from employees, customers, services providers or other third parties such as credit bureaus) and review whether that information is actually necessary for the purposes for which it was collected. In this regard, minimality is key – business should not collect more personal information than is required. Importantly, the term “personal information” is defined very broadly to mean any information that can be used to identify an individual person or another business entity.

Get rid of what you don’t need
Under POPI, a business cannot keep a record of personal information once the reason for which it was collected no longer exists, unless required by law. For example, unless required by law, a business should not keep personal information of any former supplier when the relationship has ended. Businesses should therefore check whether they are holding onto any old records of personal information that they no longer need and dispose of them in a secure manner. It is important to note that more data means more risk and it is best to purge what is not required.

Look at security
Correct management of personal information means appropriate security must be in place to protect it. POPI requires a business to put in place “appropriate, reasonable technical and organisational measures” to prevent loss, theft or damage to personal information. The suitability of security measures will depend on the business and the type of personal information it holds.

Marketing
Opt-out marketing emails and SMSs are a thing of the past under POPI. Unless a person is an existing customer, a business cannot send him or her marketing emails or SMSes without first getting consent from the person. Any request for marketing consent must include language that is set out in Regulations to POPI. Businesses should therefore review their direct marketing practices.

Go for the easy-wins
POPI compliance may seem like a daunting task but there are some “easy wins” when it comes to compliance. ​Basic documents used by the business will likely need updating for POPI compliance. These include company privacy policies and employee and supplier contracts. All of these documents should aid the business in proving its compliance with POPI.

By Hanno Labuschagne by MyBroadband

Popular call screening app Truecaller could be in violation of South Africa’s incoming Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), according to two law firms who recently spoke to MyBroadband.

Many South Africans may be familiar with the app, particularly given its usefulness in identifying unknown phone numbers and blocking unsolicited calls from telemarketers or scammers.

The app has more than 150-million daily users across the globe – 1.7-million of which are based in South Africa.

Truecaller is often able to show the owner of a number which a user does not yet have through its universal database which is supported by crowd-sourcing of data from its users.

Contrary to popular belief, Truecaller does not actually automatically upload your address book or contact list to its servers when you download and install the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

This is because both companies have strict data protection policies which prohibit the app from doing so.

However, this is not the case if the app is downloaded directly from the truecaller.com website. In this instance, Truecaller will prompt the user with an option to upload their full address book as part of its crowd-sourcing features.

This information is then uploaded to the company’s database, which is stored in a foreign server.

In addition, Truecaller allows users to manually submit the details of a number which was not yet available on its database.

According to law firms Werksmans Attorneys and Norton Rose Fulbright, there are several issues with these features under POPIA.

No lawful basis for data processing
Director at Werksmans Attorneys Ahmore Burger-Smidt said Truecaller failed to comply with POPIA in a number of areas.

“Without a doubt, concerns can be raised from a POPIA perspective in relation to the manner and the purposes for which personal data is collected and processed via the Truecaller app,” Burger-Smidt said.

She said that there were grave concerns in terms of POPIA regulations when the app is considered from the perspective of a person or business who has not registered for the service.

The primary issue was that the app allowed full disclosure of a contact list, which could amount to confidential information being disclosed.

“From a data protection perspective, a responsible party, in this instance Truecaller, can only process the personal information of a data subject if he has a lawful basis to do so,” Burger-Smidt said.

“POPIA provides for lawful bases, which include: consent, compliance with a legal obligation, if there is a legitimate interest, and the performance of a contract.”

“One can argue that there might indeed be a legitimate basis for processing the personal information of the individual that subscribes to the Truecaller service,” she stated.

“However, on what basis are they processing all the contact information that the subscriber holds?” Burger-Smidt asked.

“It is very difficult to motivate for this to be done on the basis of a legitimate interest.”

“It is entirely possible that individuals do not have any knowledge of this use of their data at all. This means that they are being denied their rights as data subjects in terms of POPIA and that their privacy is being infringed,” Burger-Smidt stated.

Shifting the blame to the user
Director in Competition Practice at Norton Rose Fulbright Rosalind Lake echoed these views.

She said POPIA requires a responsible party – in this case Truecaller – to notify a data subject of how it will process – use, store, transmit, and access – its personal information, even when it is not collected directly from the data subject.

“These notification requirements are usually fulfilled through a privacy policy,” Lake stated.

“However, it appears that Truecallers’ privacy policy places this obligation on the user,” Lake said.

According to its privacy policy, Truecaller says users must confirm with another party whose details they share with Truecaller before doing so.

Lake said this approach was problematic under POPIA.

“If you are reporting a number as spam, you are hardly going to phone them to tell them that their number has been added to the database,” Lake said.

“In this situation, the user of the app would not be considered a responsible party when it consents to provide access to its phone book. Truecaller is the one who requests access and use of the information and they are therefore responsible under POPI.”

“The user of the app may be considered an ‘operator’ for Truecaller, but then POPI says there must be an agreement in place to impose certain obligations on the operator, but the liability still sits with the responsible party.”

Lake warned that users should still think carefully before consenting to provide access to their address book and carefully peruse the privacy settings on the app.

“There have been some circumstances reported where a person’s safety may be compromised by their name being on the database – such as a journalist working undercover – or indeed, businesses may suffer losses in some way from being identified without their knowledge,” Lake cautioned.

What Truecaller can do
Burger-Smidt said that Truecaller ought to consider how it collects personal information from non-subscribers.

According to Lake, the inclusion of its privacy policy on its website does not give sufficient notice to the data subjects, as they are explicitly directed to it during the process.

She said that POPIA requires a responsible party to take reasonably practicable measures to notify the data subject of the collection and processing of their personal information.

“It would be our recommendation, therefore, even though consent may not be required if Truecaller relies on its legitimate interests to process the information, that under POPI Truecaller notify by SMS or email each person who is added to their database, direct them to their privacy policy and highlight their ability to delist from the database.”

However, this could introduce another problem under POPIA, Lake added.

“A tricky issue is that the responsible party is required to disclose where it is collecting the personal information from if it is not collecting it directly from the data subject,” Lake said.

“It is not clear yet whether stating that it is collected from users of the app will be sufficient or whether the particular individual from whom the information is collected has to be disclosed.”

“It seems unlikely to be the latter as this may also be unnecessary processing of the user’s personal information.

Truecaller not anticipating any issues
Truecaller told MyBroadband that the POPIA offered a good opportunity for companies to review their practices and think more deeply about the importance of privacy of their users.

“We are continuing to look at changes we can make to align with the evolution of privacy laws in different jurisdictions, including South Africa,” the company said.

However, it said it did not anticipate any disruption to the services or features its app offers due to the implementation of POPIA.

Both Burger-Smidt and Lake submitted that Truecaller is beneficial in its ability to identify and screen unsolicited calls.

Lake added that POPI in and of itself would also help restrict direct marketing, which will hopefully reduce the volume of spam calls in South Africa.

By Grant Lapping, MD at DataCore Media

Even with the good news of successful vaccine trials around the world, we’re most likely still months away from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer behaviour is far from returning to normal and it seems unlikely that people will return to all of their former habits when we leave the world of lockdowns and quarantines completely behind.

Indeed, recent research from McKinsey indicates that South African consumers have been in no rush to resume old behaviours, even when lockdown restrictions eased to Level 1. Its consumer survey data shows that 60% of consumers are not yet resuming normal ‘out of home’ activities.

Spending more time at home translates into spending more time online. Consumer research from Mastercard shows that 76% of South Africans learnt to bank online and 52% learnt to manage their health and get their medicines online under lockdown. Some 52% agreed they have spent more money on virtual experiences than they did before the pandemic.

At a time when people’s movement is restricted, we have thus seen explosive demand for online services. The size of South Africa’s digital ecosystem has grown vastly, with many consumers who were forced to reluctantly move online to shop, find entertainment and work under lockdown discovering that they actually prefer it.

No return to analogue

It seems safe to assume that many, if not most, will continue to use digital tools and channels rather than analogue ones, even when it’s safe to go to big gatherings again or shop without a facemask. This significant migration to digital media and channels creates exciting opportunities for companies to reinvent the ways in which they interact with consumers.

Suddenly, the universe of consumer data that South African brands have at their disposal has expanded. As people shift online, they leave traces of their preferences, interests and behaviours behind in the form of digital signals. Brands can harvest this data to drive a better understanding of the consumer.

However, getting the full value from this data may require a mental shift for some marketers. The data is only truly valuable when it is used to create more personalised customer engagements and experiences. If brands continue to push out generic campaigns rather than messages targeted to personal wants and needs, the data is wasted.

Interestingly, it seems that many marketers, like some consumers, were forced to test digital channels more rigorously under lockdown. Research from Integral Ad Science (IAS) surveying 36 companies in South Africa found that digital media spend fell far less under lockdown than overall media spend.

Digital media spending only contracted 3.7% compared to 18.8% for above-the-line and 26.6% for below-the-line. A third of the companies in the survey indicated that they increased digital spend by up to 50% and 25% kept it stable. This indicates that many brands are following their customers online.

It also supports our view at DataCore Media that brands are reviewing media spending in difficult economic times, looking towards digital channels that give them great accountability and measurability of performance from exposure to a marketing message to the conversion of a customer.

Flexibility and cost savings

The flexibility and low entry costs of digital media are also factors at a time when brands are reluctant to commit large budgets. Digital media plans give marketers the ability to optimise spending to improve results as well as to rapidly adjust campaigns in a volatile market where we can’t be sure we won’t see more lockdowns or virus surges.

Beyond marketing, many brands will need to think about how they can better deliver their offerings in a virtual paradigm. Large retailers that don’t offer frictionless home delivery will lose out to competitors who do; gyms may struggle to get some people back after they’ve become used to online classes; and restaurants will need to evaluate how they compete with dark kitchens.

Over the next few months, digital adoption will become even stronger in South Africa. We’re seeing digital marketing and digital consumer behaviour starting to reinforce each other through a feedback loop. As more people go online, more brands follow them. As brands create more and better digital experiences, more people have more reasons to be online.

Traditional brands that are not taking note of this trend risk falling behind the curve.

By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba for ITWeb

Communications and digital technologies minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has agreed to ensure 80% of the South African population has access to the Internet by 2024.

On Tuesday, the performance agreements signed by president Cyril Ramaphosa with all ministers were made public, indicating the targets agreed to by his incumbent executive.

Ramaphosa initially announced the performance agreements in his State of the Nation Address in February, explaining that signing agreements is in line with strengthening the capacity of the state and increasing accountability.

The agreements, which are based on the targets contained in the medium-term strategic framework (MTSF), have been made public to allow citizens to hold those whom they elected into office to account, according to a government statement.

In her performance agreement, Ndabeni-Abrahams has signed on to boost SA’s Internet penetration to 80% over the MTSF, up from only half of the population with Internet access.

South Africa’s Internet penetration measures above the halfway mark, with 56.3% of the population reported to be Internet users, according to Statista.

According to Stats SA’s General Household Survey, at least one member in a household can access the Internet at home, workplace, place of study or Internet café. Mobile devices still remain the most common way in which to access the Internet, in terms of the survey.

Government’s performance agreement, however, does not state the targeted Internet speeds or how the 80% target will be met.

The minister of communications must also oversee implementation of phase two of SA Connect, focusing on 42 000 government sites to 10MBps. In addition, she must review the model for SA Connect to increase private sector participation with government as a buyer of services.

Among the targets, the minister must introduce the state Digital Infrastructure Company Bill, including the integration of excess capacities of self-provision companies: Prasa, Sanral, Eskom and Transnet.

Furthermore, she must amend the Electronic Communications Act (replace it with the Digital Infrastructure Bill), to ensure transformation, competition and more investment in infrastructure, according to the performance agreement.

Still fighting for #DataMustFall
Turning to the #DataMustFall plight, Ndabeni-Abrahams must reduce the current cost of data by 50%.

South Africa is among 57 countries identified by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) that are yet to meet the UN Broadband Commission’s affordability threshold of 1GB data for no more than 2% of average monthly income.

In the case of SA, 1GB of mobile data averages about 2.17% of the average monthly income, meaning the country does not meet the affordability standards, according to the A4AI’s 2020 Affordability Report.

The performance agreement highlights that SA is ranked 31st in Africa for the price of 1GB of mobile data as per the Competition Commission. With that in mind, the target is to ensure the country will be in the top 10 in Africa for the price of 1GB data pricing by 2024.

On spectrum licensing, the document emphasises the allocation of high-demand 4G spectrum to reduce the cost of data and increase access to the Internet.

Spectrum allocation is critical to SA in regards to the reduction of data prices which resulted in the #DataMustFall campaigns. Since 2016, South Africans have been complaining about the high price of data through the #DataMustFall social media banner, and both the Competition Commission and the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) initiated inquiries into data pricing.

Equally, mobile network operators Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell C have been readying themselves to take advantage of the spectrum to strengthen and develop new services, such as 5G.

Furthermore, for government, a spectrum auction will boost the fiscus.

To achieve the 4G coverage target, Ndabeni-Abrahams is responsible for ensuring ICASA is adequately resourced in order to license 4G spectrum. She must also implement the performance management system for ICASA councillors.

The minister must also ensure the National Radio Frequency Plan is revised in line with WRC-19 outcomes by June 2021.

In terms of the Broadcasting Digital Migration programme, the minister must meet the March 2023 implementation target.

Turning to 5G spectrum, the target is for licensing and commencement of rollout by March 2024. The minister is therefore responsible for issuing policy direction on 5G by December 2021.

As part of the policy direction, she is to introduce the conditions and obligations for the participation of youth, women and people with disability in the digital economy by December 2021, states the performance agreement between Ramaphosa and Ndabeni-Abrahams.

 

Source: MyBroadband

The person behind the recent Absa data breach was a credit analyst at the bank who had access to risk modelling systems and sensitive client information.

The employee, who Absa said they trusted, leaked the client data to an external platform and then sold it to third parties.

This is feedback from Absa chief security officer Sandro Bucchianeri, who was speaking to ENCA about the data breach.

Bucchianeri first learned about the data breach on 27 October, after which they informed the Information Regulator about it.

Around a month after first being alerted to the data breach, Absa sent an email to affected clients warning them that their personal information had been shared with third parties.

He said the communication with customers was delayed to ensure they did not compromise the investigation, which was going through a court process at the time.

To date, Absa has not provided much detail about the number of clients affected and the person behind the leak, but Bucchianeri has now shed more light on the issue.

He said the Absa credit analyst sold private information about their retail banking clients to third parties.

While Bucchianeri could not divulge who these third parties were, he said they were from a “marketing type perspective who were looking for that type of information”.

“They may use the information to sell services or try to commit fraud on these accounts,” he said.

This employee has subsequently been suspended pending further information. Absa has also brought criminal charges against the employee, and these are playing out in the courts now.

Bucchianeri said the information which was leaked included bank account numbers, names and surnames, ID numbers, and contact details.

He added that the details of around 200,000 of their retail banking customers have been compromised.

Absa has now destroyed the leaked data and the external party devices have gone through an independent forensic review.

“We are in the process now to obtain the files for our own investigation,” said Bucchianeri.

He said Absa may also bring charges against the third parties who had access to the leaked data.

Following the data breach, Absa has implemented heightened monitoring on all the clients’ accounts who were leaked.

 

 

By Phillip de Wet for Business Insider SA

South Africa’s largest ever data breach has now been contained, says credit bureau Experian, which handed over the personal details of some 24 million people to an individual it now calls a fraudster.

But it is still not clear what happened between the end of May – when Experian handed over that data – and mid August, when that containment actually took place.

On Thursday Experian confirmed that what it terms “the release” took place on 24 May and 27 May. That was when it handed over data including ID numbers, telephone numbers, and physical and e-mail addresses of more than 23 million individuals and nearly 800,000 businesses to someone who presented themselves as authorised to have that information.

As of Thursday, South Africa’s largest banks are warning affected and potentially affected customers to exercise heightened vigilance, because that information could be used in identify theft attempts, or to convince people to hand over more information.

For all of June, July, and the first two weeks of August, customers were not aware of that possibility, though, as Experian first sought to plug the leak.

This week the company said it had secured the hardware the information had been stored on via an Anton Piller, a court order that allows for search and seizure without prior warning in order to preserve evidence in civil cases.

“[W]e delayed publishing the incident due thereto that the Anton Piller is reliant on the element of surprise and we therefore could not make the incident public,” the company told Business Insider South Africa on Thursday.

Experian said it had detected the breach on 22 July – 57 days after handing over the data.

“The fraud was detected once Experian struggled to contact the representative of the company on his mobile and then attempted to make contact on the company’s landline,” the company said in response to questions. “The actual person who was impersonated confirmed that he did not have any dealings with Experian.”

It immediately started to investigate, Experian said, but needed “to ensure that we have the necessary evidence that is required to apply for the Anton Piller order.”

It actually applied for that order on 13 August, 79 days after handing over the data.

The order was fully executed by 18 August – 84 days after the breach.

On Thursday Experian said it believes “that the incident has been contained”, after it seized hardware from the suspected fraudster and the data was “secured and deleted”.

Asked why it believed the data had not been sold or otherwise passed on in three months, the company said:

“We have been monitoring the various platforms (i.e. the dark web) to ascertain whether the data is being offered for sale. We also employed a leading digital forensic investigator to assist us with our efforts.

“Also, from our internal investigations we ascertained that the fraudster conducts an insurance and credit services market place and uses the information to contact consumers in order to offer services to consumers.

“Due to the serious nature of the Anton Piller order, we are not permitted to share any details around this.”

The company also reiterated that it believes the breach was not that big a deal, as the “consumer information concerned was publicly available information”.

Beware this uncapped data scam

By Hanno Labuschagne for MyBroadband

Mobile users in South Africa should be wary of scammers claiming to offer data or airtime packages at suspiciously low prices.

An online-based scam which claimed to sell unlimited prepaid data, voice calls, and messaging bundles was recently pointed out by MyBroadband Forum members.

A party calling itself “Unlimited Prepaid Bundles” was selling several mobile products which it claimed worked on Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom’s networks.

The scammers had also taken out sponsored ads on Facebook for these “unlimited” bundles.

Upon visiting the Facebook page for “Unlimited Prepaid Bundles”, we discovered several early warning signs of trouble.

The first was the suspiciously low pricing of the bundles, which included an uncapped monthly data bundle at R249 and yearly uncapped data at R799.

After MyBroadband lodged these queries, the Facebook page and website of the scammers were taken down.

MyBroadband notified African Bank of the site and provided the details of the bank account which was being used to scam buyers. The bank confirmed it had launched a forensic investigation into the account.

Vodacom slashes data prices by up to 40%

Source: Tech Financials

Vodacom has cut data prices by up to 40% and will provide free data to access essential services through Vodacom’s zero-rated platform ConnectU with immediate effect.

The value of these initiatives is some R2.7-billion over the next year.

Vodacom’s various 30-day data bundle prices will be cut across all of its channels by up to 40%, providing customers with even greater value and making it more affordable to connect.

30-day bundle size price reduction

  • 50MB R12 – cut by 40%
  • 150MB R29 – cut by 33%
  • 325MB R55 – cut by 33%
  • 500MB R79 – cut by 21%
  • 1GB R99 – cut by 34%
  • 3GB R229 – cut by 23%
  • 5GB R349 – cut by 14%
  • 10GB R469 – cut by 22%
  • 20GB R699 – cut by 31%

Jorge Mendes, Chief Officer of Vodacom’s Consumer Business Unit, says: “Vodacom can play a critical role in supporting society during this challenging time and we’re committed to doing whatever we can to help customers stay connected. Since we started our pricing transformation strategy three years ago, our customers have benefitted from significant reductions in data prices and the cost of voice calls. Over the same period, we invested over R26 billion in infrastructure and new technologies, so our customers enjoy wider 2G, 3G and 4G coverage and vastly increased data speeds.”

The latest data reductions will complement the discounted bundle offers that will also be made available to prepaid customers in more than 2,000 less affluent suburbs and villages around the country. For qualifying communities to access further discounted voice and data deals, they need to simply click on the scrolling ConnectU banner on the platform via connectu.vodacom.co.za

ConnectU – which is a zero-rated platform – also goes live today. It will provide content aimed at social development and offers a variety of essential services for free. Learners and students enrolled in schools and universities can access relevant information for free, with no data costs.

The ConnectU portal includes a search engine linked to open sources such as Wikipedia and Wiktionary as well as free access to job portals; free educational content on the e-School platform; free health and wellness information and free access to Facebook Flex, the low data alternative to Facebook that enables customers to stay socially connected.

Vodacom’s popular Just4You platform has been a significant contributor to the approximately 50% reduction in effective data prices over the past two years. Substantial cuts in out-of-bundle tariffs and the introduction of hourly, daily and weekly bundles with much lower effective prices have also driven increased value and affordability, resulting in R2 billion in savings for customers in 2019.

This latest announcement is part of Vodacom’s social contract with the public and has been extensively discussed and agreed with the Competition Commission.

“Today’s price cuts and free access to ConnectU will also assist South Africans during the national state of disaster while at the same time helping to drive greater digital inclusion,” concludes Mendes.

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