The University of South Africa (Unisa) has announced a plan to provide its students with free mobile data so they can complete their online assessments for the October / November exam period.

Earlier this year, in the midst of the pandemic and the national lockdown, Unisa moved its traditionally in-person exams online in an effort to keep students and staff safe. Due to the fact that many students may not have internet access to do this, the university worked with MTN to provide 30GB of mobile data to students for two months.

Things are much the same here albeit with some key differences. Like the previous provisions this data will be split: 10GB anytime and 20GB night owl per month. This is still baffling as almost all exams take place during the morning or afternoon, which means the smaller anytime part of the bundle will be used the most.

What’s different this time around is that the free mobile data will not be constrained to MTN.

“Students will need to opt in and request the Unisa offer via your own Mobile Network Operator such as Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom. (Students who have mobile contracts via Mobile Virtual Network Operators such as FNB or Standard Bank will need to enquire with their service provider to find out who the Mobile Network Operator is, if they do not know. Some students may have ported to another Mobile Network Operator, keeping their original number and having forgotten about it.),” Unisa states in its announcement.

The exact details of how students can opt in and request the data have not been revealed yet, and the university has stated that it will provide an update in the coming days. This is rather close timing as the October / November exam period has already officially started.

Once Unisa provides these details the data will be provided between 19th October and 18th December 2020.

While students can’t opt in right now, there is something they can do. The university has urged students to update their details on the myUnisa portal to reflect the cellphone number they are currently using that will receive the data.

This must be done by 08:00 local time on 17th October. Unisa states that, after this deadline, the provided numbers on the system will be gathered and used as a reference to provide the data.

“Please ensure that your cellphone number is correct on myUnisa so that you can benefit from the data for your examinations. To update your details, login [ myUnisa, click on myAdmin / Student Admin / Biographical Details / Update Contact Detail,”the announcement continues.