Vodacom CEO, Shameel Joosub recently gave an insightful view on the reasons why data expire, during a discussion on eNCA’s Taking Stock.
Joosub’s comments come after a continuing national conversation about the high price of mobile data and initiatives like #datafree.
Explaining that expiring data is a result of the development of local mobile regulations, Joosub said that the evolution of the South African cellular industry led to the creation of lower in-bundle rates, and out-of-bundle data rates that are higher.
Joosub compared the reduced price of bundled data to the 7-day package offered to Gautrain users. Lower costs are possible because users typically don’t use all their data (or cash, in the case of the Gautrain) within the allotted time.
“This discount is possible because the Gautrain already calculated that, on average, consumers only use it for five days per week,” said Joosub.
Joosub emphasised that the legacy issues associated with bundled data rates and their expiration need to be addressed, but that the decline of data prices in South Africa will only be a reality when additional spectrum is provided to the cellular industry by government. This would give Vodacom the opportunity to optimally use their R9 billion annual network investment to deliver data at a lower rate, instead of using the funds to re-farm 2G and 3G spectrum for their 4G network rollout.
What is currently being done?
In the mean time, however, Vodacom is adapting its products according to the changing needs of consumer behaviour and demands.
For example, Vodacom is building a new system that will warn customers when their in-bundle data is about to expire. Three options, which will empower consumers to make a choice which best suits them, will be given:
1. Buy a new data bundle,
2. Continue to use the internet at higher out-of-bundle data rates, or
3. Stop using the service.
See the full discussion that Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub had with Taking Stock’s Bruce Whitfield below.