MTN recently announced that they will be launching uncapped mobile broadband services in June with prices starting at R749 per month.
MTN will be launching two uncapped offerings:
- MTN Unlimited Lite at R749 per month which has a fair use policy of 3 GB after which users are throttled to 128 Kbps uplink and downlink speeds
- MTN Unlimited Pro at R1999 per month which has a fair use policy of 10 GB after which users are throttled to 128 Kbps uplink and downlink speeds
Both of these new services will only be available on a 24 month contract, and include an HSPA modem or router.
MTN further pointed out that there is no bandwidth shaping and port prioritization on these services.
Fair usage policy backlash
After the announcement on Tuesday evening there was a backlash from consumers about the fair use policies associated with MTN’s unlimited mobile broadband offerings.
Many argued that services which are throttled after a certain data usage should not be advertised as uncapped or unlimited.
Others pointed out that 128 Kbps is hardly broadband, but MTN said that their tests showed that this speed is adequate for basic Internet usage like email, general web surfing and social networks.
Does it add value?
While the strict fair use policy understandably caused unhappiness among certain segments of the market, the main question is whether the new MTN offerings will provide more value in the mobile broadband market.
MTN’s ‘Extended Data 3GB’ data service currently retails for R649 per month, R100 less than the new Unlimited Lite service.
The MTN Extended Data 3GB service carries an out-of-bundle rate of R0.19 per MB, which means that any subscriber who uses more than 3.5 GB per month will start to save money on the Unlimited Lite package.
The drawback on MTN’s Unlimited offerings is obviously performance, but considering that it is theoretically possible to upload and download around 80 GB per month on a symmetrical 128 Kbps connection the price per GB becomes attractive (around R10 per GB for the MTN Unlimited Lite service).
The only real drawback of the new MTN Unlimited services is therefore the low throttled speed after a user reaches the fair use limit, but at the current per-GB rates of around R200 any service which reduces this rate to an effective tens of Rands should be welcomed by subscribers which move a great deal of data over their mobile connections.
So while MTN’s new unlimited mobile broadband offerings will hardly compete against MWEB’s uncapped ADSL services, it does offer additional value in the market and is an important first step to start changing the current mobile broadband pricing models.
MTN Unlimited broadband << does it add value?