by Staff Writer

In a move to further lower the cost to communicate and increase digital and social connectivity in South Africa, Vodacom announced on Tuesday the launch of Facebook Flex. This is the first of many products to launch under the Vodacom Siyakha platform.

Facebook Flex will give customers on the Vodacom network an opportunity to connect with friends and family using the basic version of Facebook for free.

Once signed up to the service, Vodacom customers can update their Facebook status and comment on posts even when they do not have data. Should users wish to view pictures or videos, they can easily switch from the free version to data mode to access the full Facebook service. To use Facebook Flex customers can log on to or dial *111*32#.

Nyimpini Mabunda, Chief Officer: Consumer Business Unit, says that Vodacom’s Siyakha initiative is an important part of Vodacom’s effort to ensure digital inclusion for all its customers.

“Network operators like ourselves have a role to play in reducing the digital divide, particularly between those in urban and rural areas. In all our efforts we are mindful of the immense pressures that consumers face which are largely associated with the cost to communicate. The popularity and the extensive use of social media services such as Facebook as a means of communication has made it a necessity rather than a luxury.”

Siyakha, which means ‘we are building’ in isiZulu, is a platform that will offer free (zero-rated) and lower priced products and services to the emerging prepaid segment of Vodacom’s customer base. This includes a range of Vodacom insurance products, free health content from the TV series Hello Doctor as well as Vodacom’s infotainment platform Video Play. For example, for just 99c Siyakha customers can view the latest music content and the best local soapies. In terms of access to other free content, Siyakha will house Vodacom’s existing educational portals and careers and jobs websites.

“The introduction of this platform is another way in which we will seek to deliver greater value to our customers, particularly the prepaid market. By driving a segmented customer approach, we will be able to better cater for and develop more personalised and needs based products and services for all of our customers. Our focus is about giving our customers what they want at affordable prices”, adds Nyimpini.


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