MTN and Vodacom took money from donations for struggling farmers: report

The cellular operators took as much as 60% of SMS donations which were aimed at helping struggling farmers during the drought.

By - February 7, 2016 Share on LinkedIn
Mobile Network Operator Telkom Vodacom MTN Cell C

Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C took as much as 60% of SMS donations aimed at helping struggling farmers during South Africa’s devastating drought.

The Rapport stated that between R8 (Vodacom) and R15 (MTN) of every R30 donated to Agri SA via SMS was taken by the cellular operators for “administrative costs”.

Afriforum said between 40% and 60% of the money donated to their SMS campaign to help drought ridden areas was kept by the mobile operators.

When motivational speaker Frank Teixeira heard about this, he started a Facebook page to gain public support to remove the administrative cost for these campaigns.

His campaign was successful, and Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C agreed to pass on the full donation amounts in future.

Cell C said that in the case of a national natural disaster, it is committed to the zero rating of a donation short code.

“Cell C agreed to support the campaign by waiving all profits and costs associated with this donation line, which means all funds donated by Cell C subscribers will be given to the cause. We have backdated this to November 2015,” said Cell C.

Telkom said it has always waived revenues, commissions, and charges associated with approved charitable SMS fund raising campaigns run by certified organisations.

“Telkom, however, has a network roaming partner which carries traffic in areas which we do not currently have mobile network infrastructure in place,” said Telkom.

“Due to this, Telkom charges a minimum fee of 15 cents to allow us to recover the costs of roaming SMSs which we pay to our roaming partner. All remaining funds are then handed over to the Wireless Access Service Provider that has been chosen by the organisation to provide this service.”

SMS donations

The full report is available in the Rapport of 7 February 2016.

More on cellular operators

SA mobile networks’ dirty secrets about WhatsApp and Facebook

WhatsApp does not pay tax in South Africa: MTN

Vodacom and MTN do not want to become “dumb pipes” for WhatsApp

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