Vodacom to ask WhatsApp to help pay for network costs

MyBroadband recently spoke to South Africa’s mobile operators about the possibility of WhatsApp being blocked in the country, due to the messaging service eating into their traditional voice and SMS revenue.

Questions about SA networks’ relationships with WhatsApp were raised recently, following a statement by MTN SA CEO Mteto Nyati that the Facebook-owned company must be investigated by Icasa.

“You have these players which are getting huge benefit out of an industry without making any investment,” Nyati told Fin24.

“What have these over-the-top players (OTT) invested in South Africa? Zero.”

WhatsApp benefiting off Vodacom

While Vodacom said it did not have any plans to block WhatsApp on its network, the operator said it would look to the company to assist with its network infrastructure costs.

“To the extent that over-the-top players benefit from Vodacom’s infrastructure, we would seek a contribution,” said Tshepo Ramodibe, Executive Head: Corporate Affairs at Vodacom.

The statement was in response to a question about whether Vodacom would ask WhatsApp – or its owners, Facebook – to contribute to the operator’s network infrastructure costs in the future.

“Vodacom is in favour of outcomes, which include partnering with OTT players, that enhance investment and service delivery.”

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Vodacom to ask WhatsApp to help pay for network costs