In an effort to rally South Africans to download and use the COVID-19 Alert app, MTN has not only zero-rated its use (no user data used) but will reward customers with 1 GB of free data for an hour after download as a reward for their efforts in fighting the pandemic.
The COVID Alert SA app, which was designed by Discovery for the National Department of Health, uses Bluetooth contact-tracing technology to let people know when they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. MTN notes the app does this in a way that always preserves app user privacy and anonymity.
“One of the critical aspects of combatting COVID-19 is the ability to detect positive cases early and to isolate as many contacts as possible. The COVID Alert SA app gives every smartphone user in South Africa the chance to understand their exposure to the virus, so that we can all protect our families and our communities, and especially those people who are most at risk of severe disease,” explains MTN SA’s executive for Corporate Affairs, Jacqui O’Sullivan.
“For Bluetooth contact tracing to be effective, at least 10-15% of the population must download and use app in a given area. At 60% uptake, suppression of the virus can be achieved. This is why we have taken the steps to zero rate and even reward our customers whom have downloaded the app.”
Since the start of the nationwide lockdown MTN has worked with government to zero rate over 900 individual URLs to ensure that South Africans are able to access important online resources and information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our efforts have been aligned with that of government to ensure that students are able to access online educational resources to continue their studies during this difficult time. While we have zero-rated over 1 000 public benefit websites,” she adds.
“This is an extraordinarily difficult time for all South Africans and MTN remains committed to ensuring that we keep as many South Africans as possible connected, in touch and able to enjoy a world of digital opportunity, despite the complex times we are all currently facing,” concludes O’Sullivan.