MTN has announced that it will be increasing the cost of its 1GB WhatsApp bundle today owing to increased strain on its network.

Back in April MTN launched a number of social bundles that gave users discounted access to services such as WhatsApp. Those bundles proved so popular that in the last two months WhatsApp usage has increased by 300 percent and, as such, MTN’s 3G network is strained.

In a bid to ease that strain somewhat MTN will be increasing the price of its 1GB WhatsApp Bundle from R10 to R30 for some customers.

“The most vulnerable South Africans that are currently spending less than R10 on WhatsApp per month, will be protected from the change in pricing and will still have access to this low-cost WhatsApp bundles,” MTN said in a press statement.

These customers are primarily using feature phones which – unlike many smartphones – cannot connect to 4G networks and rely on 3G connectivity.

MTN’s executive consumer business spokesperson Mapula Bodibe said, “Spend on these 3G handsets in rural areas, tends to be on the much lower end and we want to continue to offer affordable data access through WhatsApp bundles to this group of South Africans, who need to communicate but whom can least afford it.”

Customers using a feature phone will be able to purchase the WhatsApp bundle for R10 by dialing *142# and selecting the appropriate options.

In addition, MTN says that it will be investing an additional R200 million into its 3G network to accommodate the increased popularity of WhatsApp and other services.


[Image – CC BY SA 2.0 warrenski]