A few days ago the University of South Africa (Unisa) announced that it has struck up a partnership with MTN to provide all of its registered South African students with 30 gigabytes of free mobile data for two months between mid-May and mid-July to write the upcoming online examinations. Now the university has provided the steps students must follow to access the data. 

It’s important to note two things before following any of the steps: the data project has not been launched just yet with a planned launch tomorrow, 21st May. Secondly this deal does not work for all mobile network operators and requires an MTN SIM card. 

With these two things in mind those with an MTN SIM card on 21st May or later can follow the steps in this graphic provided by the university. Click on the image to expand it should the text be too small to read. 

Those who followed the steps above will need to wait between three and four hours after they complete step seven. After this time the free data for the first month should be active. 

A question most are asking is why this deal is locked to MTN. Unisa has responded to this query: “Unisa negotiated with all the service providers, but MTN offered Unisa the best deal of R79 per month for 30GB of data (10GB anytime and 20GB night time). The next best deal was R99 deal negotiated by Universities South Africa on behalf of all universities. This means that Unisa saved millions of Rands on this deal.”

When this project was announced Unisa stated that it has spent R59.72 million to make it happen. We can only imagine that this number would be higher if the other service providers were chosen instead. 

This will inevitably cause problems for those without dual-SIM phones or a secondary device to act as a hotspot, but it’s a necessary evil right now. 

Should you want any more information about this free data deal we recommend heading over to the official FAQ page. We also recommend giving our interview with Unisa Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mandla Makhanya a read. We asked Makhanya many questions circulating in the Unisa community about how exactly the online examinations will work, as well as several other details about the functioning of the university in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic.