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Mobile Operators & Internet Tech

  • Africa’s first commercial 5G network goes lives in Lesotho

    Vodacom's first commercial 5G network is not in South Africa, but its next door neighbour Lesotho. The company on Saturday announced that the service will initially be used to provide fixed broadband internet to two business clients in the mountainous nation. It's also the continent's first 5G network, the telecoms giant claims. "The immediate benefit of 5G technology for Vodacom subscribers in Lesotho includes the quickerdeployment of broadband services with fibre-like speeds," the company notes in a press release. The company hopes that the introduction of  the technology will speed up "digital transformation" in the country. South Africans have to wait a little longer...

  • 9 simple ways to reduce mobile data usage on your phone

    Despite our best efforts, our protestations through the #DataMustFall movement, and government's promise to cheapen the cost of data, those megabytes remain as expensive as ever. Sure, now telecommunications companies are offering users service-only deals, making accessing WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook slightly cheaper. But what if you do more on your phone than stalk your friends or bitch about the last episode of Final Space? Don't worry, because there are ways to monitor, restrict and use your data more intelligently on Android. Here are our tips. Disable automatic app updates Google Play Store has a nasty habit of updating apps automatically. For those using...

  • Telecommunications companies are primed for digital reinvention

    While no industry is immune to digital transformation, telecommunications has long been viewed as a sector that would, and will continue to, experience massive disruption. After the initial decades of dizzying growth and exponential profits, network operators and downstream providers must reinvent their core business to capture a larger slice of today’s digital consumer lifestyle. In the African context, the situation is especially fluid, with new players and technologies threatening the old order. For both disruptive upstarts and established network operators, staying competitive in this environment means taking a digital-first approach. Underlining the importance of this approach is a Gartner prediction that digital...

  • Cell C’s new weatherman ad mocks Rain’s LTE network

    We're seeing more and more brands coyly attack one another on social media. A good example was Netflix's swipe at Multichoice's DStv, and Huawei's recent dig at Samsung after the Korean firm's Note 9 was unveiled. This week however it was two South African companies who stepped into the ring: Cell C and Rain. The former dragged its new data-only rival through the mud on Monday with an advertisement posted to YouTube. Rain has come under pressure from users for "teething problems" and spotty coverage across South Africa's major cities. It seems that Cell C was keen to highlight these issues. We're blown...

  • Cell C announces new WhatsApp and Facebook data bundles

    Cell C this week announced tweaks to its WhatsApp data bundles -- now dubbed ShoutOut bundles -- which previously only allowed access to the social chat app. The tweaks come in two forms: the company now allows users to also access Facebook with the bundles, while changes to the data bundle size and price has also been announced. The company's offering three bundles, namely: 80MB with 1 day access for R4 1200MB with 30 day access for R17 4GB with 30 days access for R49 Notably, that middle bundle was previously priced at R15 and offered 600MB. Cell C explains that its R4/80MB...

  • MTN’s WhatsApp bundle price to jump by R20 [Updated]

    In April 2018, MTN launched its new social media bundles aimed specifically at WhatsApp users. Those purchasing the network's WhatsApp Bundle would be charged R10 for 1GB on the service. But this is about to change for some. According to a statement issued by the company on Monday, MTN will increase the price of the bundle to R30. The reason? To protect its 3G network quality. "Social media usage remains a dynamic and ever-changing environment. Our commitment remains to continue driving down the cost of data with a strong focus on alleviating pressure on the most vulnerable in our society," explains Mapula...

  • Here’s how much you’ll pay for Telkom’s new FreeMe Promo voice bundles

    It's a great day to be a Telkom subscriber and a call-a-holic, not so much a data splurger. The telecommunications giant today unveiled a set of new FreeMe promo bundles valid for calls across all networks. "These bundles can be used to call any mobile network within South Africa and can be purchased as once-off or recurring bundles," the company states in a release. Notably, the bundles will be billed per second and remain valid for 31 days. They're also available for contract and top-up customers on both the FreeMe and FreeMe Family deals. But how much will you pay for these? For now,...

  • Vodacom set to stream 4K Durban July footage live using 5G

    Telecommunications network Vodacom will be trialing a 5G 4K video streaming system at the Durban July horseracing event this Saturday. The network is partnering with Finnish network and smartphone manufacturing firm Nokia to "showcase the future of virtual reality (VR) through two different 5G powered experiences at Africa’s greatest horseracing event". While one experience involves a "penalty shootout" demonstrating latency -- and will likely set England fans' nerves on edge all over again -- it's the other use of 5G that is a notable achievement. The company will use 5G and 4K video cameras surrounding Greyville Racecourse to capture and stream live...

  • MTN launches ‘Made For Home’ residential fixed LTE offering

    MTN is today unveiled its new home internet solution dubbed "Made For Home". Taking a bite out of fixed line internet solutions, the telecom's new offering will use its fixed LTE network, and will be "specifically designed for use within a fixed location". "MTN Made For Home is an easy to use, plug and play solution that requires only a router and a SIM card, to give multiple users within the home instant connectivity to high speed internet, without the trenching and complicated installation procedures, that is typically associated with fixed line products," the company notes in a release. And according to...

  • Cell C customers will soon roam on MTN’s network in smaller cities

    A pretty big announcement in South Africa's telecoms world this morning. MTN will soon let Cell C users roam on its network, to supplement the latter's coverage across smaller towns. In an announcement issued Tuesday, MTN's CEO Godfrey Motsa explained the move is beneficial for both parties. "This deal will help fund our ongoing network expansion while also immediately offering more South Africans in peri-urban and rural parts of our country greater connectivity, as they roam off MTN’s existing network," he explained in a press release. Additionally, for Cell C, it means greater coverage in smaller cities and rural areas, where MTN's...

  • Vodacom’s 4G network exceeds 80% population coverage in South Africa

    Vodacom's 4G services now cover more than 80% of the South African population, the mobile network today announced. It claims that it's the first African mobile network to cross this threshold. "Vodacom now provides 80.12% 4G coverage in South Africa, with 99.78% of the population covered by 3G and 99.97% covered by 2G," it explained in a release. It noted that the breakthrough comes on the back of the company's accelerated rural coverage programme, this despite spectrum constraints. Vodacom opens new ‘Social Media Command Centre’ in Cape Town Vodacom is embracing social media as a valid way for user to submit queries, this...

  • MTN is South Africa’s best mobile network, new report suggests

    MTN is the best mobile network in South Africa according to a new report published by MyBroadband. The company's Q1 2018 Mobile Network Quality Report published Wednesday, gauges the performance of South Africa's big four networks through its Speed Test Android app. More than 140 000 tests were conducted through the 1 January and 31 March test period. Based on pure average download speed, MTN has Vodacom beaten by more than 2Mbps. The yellow team sees an average download rate of 24.12Mbps, while the latter enjoys a still quick but slower 21.26Mbps. Notably, both are above South Africa's average download rate of...

  • MTN debuts airtime-doubling ‘100% BONUS Starter Pack’

    MTN is this week debuting a new starter pack in South Africa with a value-added twist, just ahead of the 1 April 2018 VAT increase. "The new MTN 100% BONUS Starter Pack rewards customers with 100% bonus airtime each time they recharge," the company writes in a statement. "The SIM card doubles the value each time when they recharge, allowing MTN to further brighten South African’s lives by giving them more value for their rand." This effectively means that users who purchase R30 airtime on the SIM card, will receive R30's worth of free airtime. Said airtime can be used to call...

  • Zando’s apps, mobile site traffic is now zero-rated on Vodacom

    African fashion retailer Zando's apps and mobile site is now zero-rated on Vodacom's networks, the company announced on Wednesday. The agreement means that prepaid or contract users browsing or transacting on the retailer's mobile apps or mobile website won't be charged airtime or data fees if accessed through Vodacom. The retailer explains that the move is keeping in tune with South Africa's greater move towards mobile. "South Africa is fast catching up on the international trend of adopting a Mobile First attitude, with 61% of smartphone usage attributed to accessing internet and applications," it claims in a press release. Zando's head of mobile...

  • Vodacom opens new ‘Social Media Command Centre’ in Cape Town

    Vodacom is embracing social media as a valid way for user to submit queries, this after the company launched its "specialist Social Media Command Centre" in Cape Town on Wednesday. The company revealed at its launch event that it will spend "in excess of R15-million on staff, equipment, infrastructure and technology over the next year" to meet the growing demand on social media. Said demand experienced on social media has grown two-fold in the space of a year, it added. "The exponential use of social media amongst our customer base has necessitated the introduction of a specialised unit to service these channels,"...