Networks Zero Rate University Website Access
With the ongoing drama of #FeesMustFall, South African mobile providers have come forward to offer zero rate data packages for all campuses.
Published: Monday, October 24th 2016
MTN, Telkom and Cell C have zero-rated access to university websites in light of ongoing protests.
The Reason Behind The Zero Rate Decision
"We know students are facing a tough time at the moment. Many need to gain access to course material through their university’s online portal in order to complete their academic year. Zero-rating access is our way of assisting students,” says Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos.
This comes in light of many tertiary education institutions electing to continue with exams. Even though many students are not able to attend any or all of their classes.
Telkom, MTN and Cell C are offering a solution which will enable universities to allow free access to academic content for students, even if they have run out of data or airtime.
In Telkom’s case, their Reverse Bill URL service allows students to access content on a university website, without paying for data consumption. To benefit from this, however, students need to use a Telkom mobile prepaid or postpaid SIM card. Students accessing academic material via Telkom ISP will also benefit from free data as Telkom already zero rates this traffic.
Cell C's Offering
Through the process of contacting universities, Cell C will implement a reverse bill on their website URLs. Cell C will absorb the cost to allow students to access academic content for free. This means that even if students are off campus, they will be able to access the university website at no cost. A list of the participating institutions will be updated and published on Cell C’s website
Under normal circumstances, mobile data usage would then be reverse-billed back to the institution. Similar to the reverse-charges phone calls of previous years.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, MTN took the decision to provide free access to online educational content in order to complement existing classroom training, leverage the benefits of online training and assist the students and academic institutions to salvage the 2016 academic year. As MTN, we are mindful of the backlog that students and academic institutions are facing, and we believe that this gesture will help to maintain continuity and expedite access to much-needed educational content,” says Mteto Nyati, Chief Executive Officer: MTN South Africa.
Currently MTNs offer is in effect for students from the University of Cape Town and University of Pretoria.
How To Make Use Of The Zero Rate Offering
Both Cell C and Telkom are offering this until the end of the academic year. MTN has not specified how long their offer is valid.
In order to make use of either company's offer, you will need to use a SIM card from that respective network.
Telkom says that they are reaching out to academic institutions throughout South Africa to implement this solution. Students will be able to buy and Rica SIM cards from Telkom stores, national chains and participating dealers.
"Our universities and institutions are key to empowering South Africans and creating growth in this country,” said Sipho Maseko, Group CEO, Telkom. “We, at Telkom, believe it is essential that students are able to continue their studies despite the current political climate. We hope that this small contribution, on our part, will assist students to complete the academic year as we work together to build an equitable system for all," concluded Maseko.
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