While in Uganda, you need to pay a daily tax to access Twitter in addition to standard internet access charges. In South Africa, people have been accessing the micro-blog platform for free in the last four years or so. All thanks to MTN South Africa, which had been running a free Twitter access.
However, since September 25, 2018, MTN shut down the free Twitter service. A move the telecom says it was forced to take following a good number of users abusing the fair usage policy. In a nutshell, people went all out on Twitter, uploading/downloading content after content, all the while jamming up the available bandwidth.
According to MTN’s own statistics, about 13 million subscribers in South Africa were accessing Twitter for free in just the month of August 2018. They used a total of 1.9 petabytes of data within that same period.
“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,” said Jacqui O’Sullivan, the Executive for Corporate Affairs at MTN South Africa.
“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.”
Telecoms giving Mobile Data packages tailored for Social Media access
There is a growing trend among telecom companies across Africa, MTN included, whereby they (telecom companies) have resorted to selling to subscribers, mobile data bundles tailored to accessing social media.
The mobile data bundles are specially priced to allow subscribers to access social media at affordable prices. Also, the special mobile data bundle can only be used to access social media and not in the general internet browsing.
As MTN scraps the free Twitter services in South Africa, it has now released mobile data bundles tailored to social media access by the subscribers.