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Zero-rate the content of public benefit organisations

Mobile network operators must fulfil their legal obligations to zero-rate. Don’t let them leave South Africans on read.

Zero-rating can help address inequality.

South Africa, like many other nations, is grappling with how to bridge the digital divide, where unequal access to mobile internet and smartphones has significant consequences for access to education and healthcare. For more than a decade, DGMT has campaigned for the zero-rating of content provided by public benefit organisations (PBOs) so that ALL South Africans, especially those who are most disadvantaged, can access information and resources that will support them to learn, earn and care for their families. For instance, learners from all walks of life must have access to educational material online, while young jobseekers should be able to access skills development resources.

Mobile network operators MUST comply with their legal obligations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government, through the national state of disaster, instructed mobile network operators (MNOs) to zero-rate the content of PBOs. Some complied, most under duress, and some only after they were threatened with legal action.

The lessons learned during the pandemic reinforced the importance of digital access for education, particularly for children who could not attend classes in person. Zero-rating became a lifeline for students who needed access to learning material during lockdown. It also meant that vital health information was accessible to the broader public.

During the pandemic, mobile network operators moved quickly to zero-rate. They demonstrated that it is possible to zero-rate with urgency. The disaster regulations have since been lifted but new legally binding rules compel mobile network operators to zero-rate the content of PBOs today.

In April 2022, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) made zero-rating of government and public benefit organisation digital content a condition of licence for network operators that had bid successfully for more radio spectrum. This meant that users of these websites should have access to this digital content for free. Read the specific clause, 12.5.1, here.

The condition of licence is there, in regulation, yet the poorest communities still don’t benefit from it. To date, there is no commitment from MNOs, or a clear way by ICASA on how to implement, manage and enforce zero-rating.

Click to read our open letter.

This year, DGMT launched a new public campaign in the Sunday Times to raise awareness about the delays in implementing zero-rating, and with the support of more than 350 civil society organisations, we called on ICASA to make this issue a priority.

Since then, ICASA has finalised outstanding licensing agreements with major MNOs, which in theory means there should not be further delays in zero-rating. With the licensing process finalised, the ball is now in the court of MNOs. But zero-rating is STILL NOT being implemented and enforced on a wide scale.

So, we at DGMT, reached out to major MNOs to understand why these delays are continuing. Unfortunately, they have not responded to us. We are essentially being left “on read”. And we will not be silent about it.

Watch a recent interview on eNCA where DGMT CEO, David Harrison, unpacks the need for zero-rating and what is needed to make it work.

Read a recent article published by News24 that lays out some of the issues surrounding zero-rating, with comments from some mobile network operators.

Finding solutions: DGMT has built a Social Innovation Register for zero-rating.

While we wait for MNOs to legally comply, DGMT is pushing ahead with the development of a Social Innovation Register (SIR). This is a streamlined platform for public benefit organisations to apply for zero-rating, where they can be vetted and can link to MNOs. It is also an advocacy tool for PBOs to engage with mobile network operators as a collective.

Do your part to make network operators notice the campaign.

Share these visuals and text across your social channels and remember to tag Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom and ICASA. Through the collective effort of civil society and citizens of South Africa, we can make them take notice of us and take action.

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 
#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 

With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.

#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 
#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 

With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.

#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 
#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 
#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT
SA’s digital divide affects countless citizens daily, hindering education, healthcare & opportunities. DGMT’s SIR is a beacon for PBOs to be zero-rated. With ICASA’s guidelines, we urge you to join the SIR and champion inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
SA’s digital divide affects countless citizens daily, hindering education, healthcare & opportunities. DGMT’s SIR is a beacon for PBOs to be zero-rated. With ICASA’s guidelines, we urge you to join the SIR and champion inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
SA’s digital divide affects countless citizens daily, hindering education, healthcare & opportunities. DGMT’s SIR is a beacon for PBOs to be zero-rated. With ICASA’s guidelines, we urge you to join the SIR and champion inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
SA’s digital divide affects countless citizens daily, hindering education, healthcare & opportunities. DGMT’s SIR is a beacon for PBOs to be zero-rated. With ICASA’s guidelines, we urge you to join the SIR and champion inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
SA’s digital divide affects countless citizens daily, hindering education, healthcare & opportunities. DGMT’s SIR is a beacon for PBOs to be zero-rated. With ICASA’s guidelines, we urge you to join the SIR and champion inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
SA’s digital divide affects countless citizens daily, hindering education, healthcare & opportunities. DGMT’s SIR is a beacon for PBOs to be zero-rated. With ICASA’s guidelines, we urge you to join the SIR and champion inclusive digital access for all South Africans.

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 
#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 

#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 
#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 

With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.

#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 
#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 
#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 

#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 

#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 

#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 
#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT
 

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 

#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

South Africa’s digital divide isn’t just numbers—it’s a reality affecting countless citizens every day, hindering education, healthcare, and opportunities.

The pandemic underscored the need for and the potential of zero-rating, offering a lifeline to many.
 
DGMT’s Social Innovation Register (SIR) is more than a platform; it’s a beacon, facilitating the process for PBOs to be zero-rated.
 
With ICASA’s guidelines in place, we urge you to take a bold step forward. Plug into the SIR and champion the move towards inclusive digital access for all South Africans.
 

#DontLeaveUsOnRead #ZeroRating #DGMT

Make your voice heard about zero-rating. Don’t settle for being left on read.