The impact of the Covid-19 virus is far-reaching and MTN has implemented a number of proactive and innovative measures to minimise disruptions for communities, businesses, schoolchildren and families across South Africa.
MTN has amplified its monitoring of critical infrastructure to ensure maximum network availability for all its customers. This is also helping to ensure that MTN provides sufficient capacity to accommodate the increased work-from-home traffic.
In addition to the active network monitoring, MTN has a zero-rated USSD line (*130*119#) for reporting infections and for other critical information. There are also two zero-rated Ayoba Covid-19 channels that are already live and are sharing updated news and information. As part of MTN’s response to the Competition Commission’s Data Service Market Inquiry, MTN also announced that with immediate effect, concerned family members and friends can stay in touch through a free 20MB Ayoba Data Lifeline that can be accessed via the Ayoba app.
To reduce the circulation of cash — a major infection vector — MTN’s MoMo app will, from Monday April 20, allow for free peer-to-peer cash payments under R200. Card to wallet, instant EFT and payments to agents and participating retailers will also be zero-rated in a bid to ease the burden on consumers. In addition, the charge to send non-MoMo users a cash voucher will be at a flat rate of R10, rather than the normal sliding scale that is linked to the value of the cash being shared.
Children must continue to learn
In this time of physical distancing and school closures, it is imperative that children continue learning and do not get behind on their curriculum. MTN South Africa together with the department of basic education (DBE) and the Siyavula Foundation have made sure that learners in grades 10, 11 and 12 stay on top of their curriculum material over the coming weeks.
Access to the e-learning platform of the Siyavula Foundation is already zero-rated for all MTN customers, which means the website can be used with no data costs being incurred. In addition to this and with immediate effect, the MTN Foundation has sponsored pupils in grades 10-12 with an amount of R3-million, to allow them full access to maths, computer applications technology (CAT), information technology (IT) and physical sciences learning materials, including practise sheets and exam preparation content. This can be accessed on the Siyavula website (www.siyavula.com) and via the Siyavula app (available in the Google Store).
On Tuesday April 14 MTN Business announced that it has partnered with the Eastern Cape’s department of education to give thousands of grade 12 pupils an opportunity to catch up on their school curriculum by using online learning platforms, with 72 000 SIM cards preloaded with data. In addition to the provision of the SIM cards, MTN Business has also contributed equipment consisting of state-of-the-art cameras, white boards and other equipment valued at R27-million to support the 13 broadcasting studios that the provincial government is setting up. These studios will be used to conduct virtual classes.
The MTN SA Foundation has a long-standing partnership with the DBE to develop and digitise language, IT and CAT learning materials, which form part of the digital content presently available on the DBE’s portal and associated platforms.
With supplies of safety equipment rapidly depleting amid the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, MTN is also stepping in to help with the supply of thousands of face masks and bottles of hand sanitiser to provincial health departments.
Despite limited supply globally, MTN SA’s Foundation team has worked around the clock to secure 30 800 face masks and 18 000 bottles of hand sanitiser, worth R1.9-million. These essential supplies have been allocated to provincial departments of health across all nine provinces, based on need. The first supplies were delivered to provinces on Tuesday April 7 and distribution is ongoing.
“Apart from increasing much-need digital learning and education services, whether through curriculum or connectivity, we are also currently working on number of other affordable offers to keep customers and businesses connected and children entertained — details of which will be made available in coming days.”