Vodacom and MTN’s location-based bundles

Vodacom and MTN customers can get heavily discounted mobile data or voice bundles based on the location they find themselves in.

Vodacom recently rolled out its more affordable limited-time “Just 4 You Town” (J4Y Town) prepaid data and voice bundles on the Vodapay app.

Initially launched in 2018, Vodacom said the service had grown considerably with many new enhancements to drive the adoption of next-generation services.

“J4Y Town was developed as a mechanism to help address the cost to communicate by improving the affordability of voice and data products in low-income areas, enabling underserved communities to access digital services,” Vodacom said.

The operator told MyBroadband that the customer’s location is the primary factor that determines the eligibility of offers.

“In most cases, and especially in low-income areas, discounts are applied to improve the affordability of voice and data products, to make sure as many South Africans can benefit from the digital revolution,” Vodacom said.

However, once the bundle is bought, the customer can continue to use it anywhere in the country.

To use these bundles, Vodacom requires the user’s mobile usage information and current location to present relevant offers. By selecting one of the bundles on the mobile app, a user consents to these conditions.

In the Vodapay app, customers will find their personalised bundles under a “Your Town” tab in the “Buy” section.

One MyBroadband reader provided a screenshot of the bundles he was offered, which included:

  • 5GB for 1 day — R5
  • 60 any-net minutes for 1 day — R12
  • 1GB for 7 days — R20
  • 6GB (3GB anytime + 3GB night-time) for 7 days — R49
  • Unlimited any-net minutes for 3 days — R49

These prices are significantly lower than Vodacom’s regular daily and weekly bundles.

The prices mobile operators charge for their services are often a function of the relationship between available capacity and user demand.

If an operator charges too little for mobile data, usage could skyrocket and overwhelm available capacity.

However, if it charges too much, the network could be needlessly underutilised and generate less revenue than it would otherwise be capable of.

By personalising offers, mobile networks can bring in revenue that might otherwise have been left on the table.

MTN Zone and MyTown

MTN has also been offering several location-specific packages and bundles for years.

This started with the MTN Zone product, which was first launched to contract customers in 2008 and allowed them to consume airtime at significantly discounted rates.

MTN Zone eventually expanded to prepaid customers and offered discounts based on which tower a subscriber was connected to.

The operator also started selling personalised location-specific “MyTown” offers in August 2020.

Upon the launch of MyTown four years ago, an MTN South Africa spokesperson explained the bundles were available in 85 suburbs and townships with a focus on regions where budget-friendly data bundles would be “particularly welcomed”.

“The aim with this product is not only to get — and keep — more people connected to family, friends, passions, entertainment, networking and job opportunities, it is also a way to address customer needs on a personal and community-level; ensuring that no one is left behind as we move towards an increasingly modern, connected life and burgeoning digital economy,” MTN stated.

The MTN MyTown bundles are available on the MTN mobile app or by dialling USSD shortcodes *136*2#  or *142#.

As an example of the deals available, one MyBroadband forum reported in January 2024 that they could buy 1GB monthly mobile data for R29 or a 2GB bundle for R49.

While the prices are likely to differ signficantly from one area to the next, the personalised bundles will always be cheaper than standard offers.

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Vodacom and MTN’s location-based bundles