Cellular network operator MTN launched a new pricing plan today that will see an end to the 30-day shelf life of data being extended to 365 days. There is a catch, though: this pricing plan will only be available to the first 100 000 MTN customers who sign up for it.

The MTN Data4Keeps promotion is available from today to MTN subscribers; to activate the price plan, they must dial 1414*7#.

This USSD activation is only available to prepaid subscribers, but contract customers are able to add the MTN Data4Keeps 500MB package at R69 per month for 24 months to their existing contract if they like.

Once on the Data4Keeps pricing plan, users will be able to purchase Data4Keeps bundles which will be valid for 365 days by dialling 1412*999 and following the prompts.

“MTN understands the users’ frustration of having to lose unused data despite the fact that data validity period is a universally applied practice. Our customers use data as a primary source of staying connected to the internet and surfing the internet, and what better way to provide them with a distinct customer experience than by introducing data bundles that consumers can keep for as long as it is available,” said sales and marketing executive at MTN South Africa, Larry Annetts in a statement.

This extended lifespan for mobile data is a first in South Africa, and although it’s a welcome addition to MTN offerings, it does bring to the fore the question of why should data expire at all?

Why, indeed.

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.