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BUSINESS: New MTN data offers

UCC agrees to meet company officials over concerns raised by customers

Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | On July 4, Uganda’s largest telecommunication firm; MTN, announced changes in price and volumes for some of its internet (data) packages resulting in concerns by customers and the regulator, the Uganda Communications Commission.

The changes relate to MTN’s internet bundles – a service that gives its users access to social media services like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter (SWIFT). These bundles are available in three validity options – 24 hours, 7 days or 30 days.

Under the new arrangement, some bundle volumes and prices were changed and social platforms offered on some bundles shifted.

One outstanding feature for all bundles is that they are no longer unlimited like they were before July 4. In other words, it was a data “all you can use” package depending on the bundle purchased either for a day, week, or month.  Under the new changes, the higher you use the higher you pay. It appears the changes have not gone down well with some customers.

“Today I load social bundles of Shs 2,500 and get 350Mbs but in just a day they are finished,” says Simon, “those days they would remain for seven days.”

Simon wants the unlimited bundles back and he is not alone. Since the new changes took effect on July 4, MTN customer care officers have been busy on the company’s social media platforms advising customers on how to manage data usage.

“Y’ello Julius, how long they (social bundles) last depends on content accessed, you can manage this by disabling auto downloads and streaming/playing multimedia content, plus SYNC synchronisation,” one message from Edwin, a customer care officer reads in part.

When asked to explain the reasons behind changes in their social bundle offers, MTN’s General Manager for Legal and Corporate Affairs, Anthony Katamba, on July 12, told The Independent that MTN made the changes “to make it easy for our customers to enjoy our internet social bundles.”

Katamba said that under the new arrangement, they have created a single social media bundle for major platforms – WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter – which was not the case before.

He said that majority of their customers were buying bundles for one social media platform which proved expensive as opposed to the new arrangement where five top platforms have been combined into one to make it user friendly.

“Any Ugandan who has analysed the new changes will appreciate that we have good offers on the market,” Katamba said.

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