Telkom said that it will be providing free data to students who cannot access academic materials due to the ongoing student protests which have lasted for a month.
In a statement on Wednesday‚ the communications service provider said this is part of its ongoing commitment to supporting education within South Africa.
Many institutions have had to make alternative plans to continue the academic year‚ including making lecture and study material available online while campuses are accessible to students.
“This may result in further anxiety for students who may already be surviving on the smallest of stipends‚ and must now find additional funds to purchase the data needed to access the materials they require to continue their studies‚” Telkom said.
The company said it is offering a solution which will enable universities to allow free access to academic content for students‚ even if students have run out of data or airtime.
Telkom’s Reverse Bill URL service allows students using a Telkom mobile prepaid or postpaid SIM card to access content on a university website without paying for data consumption.
Telkom said under normal circumstances‚ mobile data usage would then be reverse-billed back to the institution – similar to the reverse-charges phone calls of previous years.
“However‚ during this critical period‚ Telkom has taken a decision to waive the data consumption costs until the end of the academic year. Students who need to work off-site can therefore do so even without the need to fund these costs themselves.”
Telkom has approached academic institutions throughout South Africa to implement this solution.
It said students would be able to buy and Rica SIM cards from Telkom stores‚ national chains and participating dealers.
- Ernest Mabuza is a writer for TMG Digital. This article first appeared in the TMG Digital website.
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