CUTS bemoans MTN’s expensive non-expiry bundles

Diggers News , january 17, 2019

MTN Zambia has launched a new range of non-expiry mobile data bundles dubbed: “Freedom Bundles” which will see its subscribers being forced to pay more than four times the amount than on the regular time-limited bundles.

But Consumer Unity Trust Society (CUTS) Zambia centre coordinator Chenai Mukumba has complained that the new bundles are extremely expensive, urging mobile network operators to review their pricing mechanism.

In a statement released, Thursday, MTN Zambia announced the launch of the Freedom Bundles that offer subscribers a brand new range of bundles which do not expire.

According to the new bundle choices, 1.5GB will cost K220, which is more than four times the cost of the same bundle that expires over a one-month period, priced at K50.

A 5GB “Freedom Bundle” is being sold at a whopping K410 compared to just K100 for the same bundle over a one-month expiry period, while a 25GB is pegged at K1,650 compared to K400 for the same respective bundle packages.

Commenting on the new roll-out of the “Freedom Bundle” packages, MTN Zambia chief executive officer Bart Hofker hailed the new, first-of-its kind initiative in the country as offering subscribers a “better data option.”

“Zambia’s number 1 network has taken the lead in the industry by introducing the Freedom Bundles. We know having this choice will delight many and we believe that it will also contribute to better data adoption and digital inclusion in Zambia,” Hofker stated in a press release.

“Expiring data bundles was a key concern for many of our customers, so we made the necessary adjustments to offer more choice.”

But while she welcomed the new data bundle choice for consumers, Mukumba complained that the huge price hikes might deprive subscribers of much-needed data.

“Indeed, the issue of bundles expiring has been one that many consumers have complained about over the past couple of years as at times consumers’ bundles would expire before they had depleted their bundles. We, therefore, encourage the other mobile network operators to follow suit and provide consumers with the option to buy non-expiring data bundles. Having said that, however, CUTS has taken a look at some of the prices of the non-expiring bundles that are on offer; we note that they seem to be much more expensive than the non-expiry data. We, therefore, encourage the mobile network operators to work to ensure that the prices of the non-expiry bundles are at prices accessible to even low-income consumers and in the same vein encourage consumers to take time to compare the prices of bundles before they purchase them,” stated Mukumba.

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