A bit of noteworthy news broke over the recent long weekend which should be of interest for MTN customers who enjoy making use of Twitter.

In the past the network was able to offer access to the social media platform for free, but that will change as of midnight today, 25th September 2018, with the company noting that Free Twitter will no longer be available moving forward.

“Free Twitter started out as a 90-day promotion in May 2014 and over time, it has become part of the landscape of social media in South Africa. MTN first gave people the free platform to experience Twitter, which then had a relatively small local following. At the time, the whole of South Africa only had 5.5 million Twitter users. To date, MTN has more than double that number on our network alone,” explains Jacqui O’Sullivan, executive for Corporate Affairs at MTN SA.

While the free offering meant more users opted to use Twitter on the MTN network, it has also seen an increase in data being transferred on the network, with the social media platform also seeing more data-intensive features being added to it in recent years.

Last month for example MTN notes that 13 million people used Twitter on its network, with an estimated 1.9 petabytes of data being used.

This resulting surge in data usage means there is quite a bit that MTN is not able to cash in on, although the company has not explicitly stated as much, but it is clear that from a business standpoint offering free Twitter makes little sense at the moment.

“Twitter was originally intended as a quick and snappy way to stay connected with the world – within a 140 character (now 280) limit. It has since evolved into a platform that is video and image intensive, making it no longer feasible to offer this as a value-added service to our customers,” concludes O’Sullivan.

While Twitter’s growth numbers have stagnated of late, the social media platform still has a very local following and engaged community, so it should be interesting to see if there is any backlash or loss of customers as a result of the new policy from MTN.

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.