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SA’s major mobile networks blame Covid for tariff hikes


Both MTN and Telkom have introduced tariff increases across some of their services after a two-year price freeze amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

File picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA).

BOTH MTN and Telkom have introduced tariff increases across some of their services after a two-year price freeze amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Telkom South Africa will implement increases across fixed-line voice and broadband tariffs, and certain mobile tariffs and services, effective 1 August 2022.

Meanwhile, MTN shocked its contract customers in their May bills increasing some of its products and services by up to 20%, unbeknown to many of its users.

Both networks credited price freezes implemented during South Africa’s lockdown amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Both companies also stated that their first tariff increase in over two years, was an effort to provide continued professional services to their customers.

Lockdown Pressures

CEO of Telkom Consumer Business Lunga Siyo, said that due to the pressures of the lockdown, restrictions, and slow economic recovery and growth, Telkom, like many other South African companies and businesses, had been impacted by unpredictable and unforeseen circumstances.

“These essential tariff changes have resulted in deflecting cost pressures alongside the price freeze and prevalent macro-economic conditions

“Telkom has remained committed to its customers with a price freeze over the past two years in efforts to assist South Africans throughout the difficult times of Covid-19,” Siyo said.

Meanwhile, as MTN’s tariff increases drew massive criticism from the public and were widely reported across local media, the company posted a detailed explanation on its website: “The inflationary environment which has significantly contributed to increased input costs has compelled MTN to react to market pressures. We have tried to keep the price adjustments to a minimum in a bid to provide our customers with quality telecommunications services as cost-effectively as possible.”

MTN SA chief consumer officer Mapula Bodibe. said that ‘the tariffs will be an average adjustment by 5%, which is in line with inflation and comparable to the market’, in a statement issued by MTN and carried on its website.


Telkom customers are expected to see increases across all fixed voice calling plans, FTTH (Fibre to the Home), DSL and Pure Connect products.

“As part of the tariff increase exercise we will also be adjusting the ADSL 1Mbps and 2Mbps speed and pricing to the 5Mbps product, as the former products are no longer available. Customers will get the benefits of the faster speed with the price adjustment.

“With regards to mobile products, certain tariffs will increase in monthly subscription costs, however, these increases will not impact mobile customers subscribing to products within the Smart Broadband Data Portfolio and current FreeMe mobile voice offerings,” the company said.

Voice rates for out of bundle consumption on Telkom will increase from R0.70 to R0.75 per minute and data rates will increase from R0.30 to R0.32 per MB of data.

Meanwhile, MTN has implemented increases on most of its plans, with for example, the smallest of it’s Mega Gigs contract plans, ‘XS’ increasing from R129 to R135 while the largest ‘XL’ contract has increased from R599 to R629. In contrast MTN’s larger package plans like MyMTN Sky Platinum MTN TopUp and MyMTN SKY Supreme have both increased from R1,999 to R2,099.

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