Mobile operator MTN has announced sweeping price increases that will come into effect next month and will affect both contract and prepaid customers. This comes as no surprise after Vodacom announced increases to its contract pricing three weeks ago that come into effect on 1 May.
In a statement released on Wednesday the operator says its prices have been “relatively stable” in recent years “despite the challenging economic environment” and the investments MTN has made in its network. It says the reduction in mobile termination rates — the fees operators charge each other to field calls on their networks — coupled with the increased costs of network investment, have “necessitated a review of pricing”.
Add to these rising operational costs, distribution costs, transport costs, handset price increases, infrastructural costs, falling exchange rates and an increase in taxes and the operator would have us believe its hands are tied and it claims the increases are a “last resort”.
For further justification, MTN says it has “had to invest substantially in generators and back-up batteries to power its base stations during power outages”.
The company says both the Consumer Protection Act and its own subscriber agreement terms require that it give contract customers 20 working days’ notice of the changes, which means the new pricing will be effective as of 13 May. The prepaid increases, meanwhile, come into effect on 23 April.
Below is the full breakdown of the new pricing:
We wait with baited breath to see how long it takes before Cell C and Telkom either bump their prices, too, or opt not to and trumpet the fact that they haven’t instead.