CEO of online radio station (TouchCentral), Thabo “Tbo Touch” Molefe tweeted that the hard fight to get mobile data prices in South Africa had finally come to an end thanks to, according to him, MTN South Africa dropping their data bundles prices. He announced that MTN had listened to the #DataMustFall movement, which he and Gareth Cliff (Co-Founder at TouchCentral) started, and dropped their data bundles pricing and said consumers must now “stop being ungrateful”.
Momentarily there was excitement until it was pointed out by thousands of South Africans on Twitter that not only have the data bundles prices Tbo Touch was quoting been in existence for a while, but they were valid for ‘Night Express’ data bundle package, i.e. as MTN South Africa states in its terms and conditions '* The Applicable Data Value may be used between the hours of 00h01 and 05h59 only, within the Republic of South Africa (the “Eligible Hours”)*'.
Furthermore, South Africans on Twitter went to proclaim that Tbo Touch and Gareth Cliff had been “captured” by MTN when it emerged that their online radio station was now zero-rated on the MTN network.
South Africans didn't take kindly to the deal with MTN South Africa being announced as part of the #DataMustFall campaign with some going as far as calling Tbo Touch, Gareth Cliff and TouchCentral s'sell-outs' for having been 'captured' by MTN South Africa without really fighting for mobile data costs to come down.
Earlier in 2016, Tbo Touch and Gareth Cliff took on the campaign of #DataMustFall as far as making presentations at the Suth African parliament asking people to rally behind them.
"To the students who can't afford downloading textbooks or information on your assignments, we are fighting for you #Datafalling"Thabo "Tbo Touch" Molefe
As a result, many South Africans started questioning who is benefiting from TouchCentral being zero-rated for MTN South Africa customers and the advertising deal that they got from MTN South Africa. Many say they, Tbo Touch and Gareth Cliff, used a legitimate cry by citizens for their own benefit.