MTN South Africa has announced substantial cuts to its mobile data tariffs in a bid to make itself more competitive. From 10 April the price for downloading data via GPRS will be reduced from ZAR50 (USD8) per megabyte to ZAR2 (USD0.32), with even cheaper rates offered via bundled services, ranging from 10Mb a month for ZAR10, up to 1Gb for ZAR499. MTN SA lags some way behind Telkom SA and Vodafone’s joint venture Vodacom in its domestic market. The operator hopes that by encouraging the use of data services at competitive prices it can win back lost market share from its rival. It is also planning to roll out 3G services in South Africa by the ‘middle of the year’.
Meanwhile, MTN SA’s parent, MTN Group, confirmed earlier this week that shareholder group NewShelf had agreed to sell 75.24 million of its shares to state-owned asset manager Public Investment Commissioners (PIC). NewShelf will also distribute 118.65 million shares to PIC to settle preference shares issued at the time of its acquisition of its MTN stake. Once complete, the transactions will reduce NewShelf’s holding in the group from 18.71% to 6.9%.