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In delivering on our purpose to ‘Connect for a better future’, we have committed to a Social Contract, guided by three core principles:


To build trust with our customers through simplified and transparent pricing, customer orientated solutions and reducing our planetary impact.


To ensure fairness and promote digital inclusivity through enhanced access to digital products, services and infrastructure.


To demonstrate responsible leadership through innovation in IoT and mobile financial services, leadership in convergence and solutions that benefit society.

Our commitment to delivering on our purpose and Social Contract is playing a critical role in informing our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vodacom is committed to finding an appropriate expression in our response to the profound impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We have been actively assisting governments and health workers in implementing effective response measures to support the resilience of communities and small businesses, and to help individuals and their families adapt to these very challenging circumstances.

In response to a rapid increase in demand for network capacity and data services across our markets we have successfully taken measures to maintain network resilience, alleviate congestion, and ease the risk of disruptions in our services, including securing temporary allocation of high-demand spectrum in South Africa.

We have been working closely with governments to enhance their capacity to deliver critical government services, as well as using our geodata tracking and Big Data capabilities to improve governments’ insights into the movement of people in affected areas, while respecting individual privacy.

Vodacom Group six point plan to help counter the impact of COVID-19

Providing rapid, comprehensive and coordinated support to society by ensuring vital connectivity that keeps families connected and enables businesses to operate, students to learn, healthcare to be delivered and governments to provide critical services.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact society, Vodacom is committed to supporting society during this period of profound uncertainty. As a provider of critical connectivity and communication services that enables a digital society, we have announced a six-point plan to support our communities through:

  1. Maintaining the quality and resilience of our networks
  2. Accelerate support to critical government functions
  3. Enhance digital accessibility and literacy for the most vulnerable
  4. Promote widespread digital adoption for businesses including SMEs
  5. Supporting exit strategies that enable the restarting of the economy and society
  6. Enabling cashless payments and financial inclusion
  1. Maintaining the quality and resilience of our networks

    To assist governments and citizens to stay connected, it is essential to maintain a minimum level of resilience and quality of service in our networks.

    • We have secured temporary spectrum in DRC, Mozambique and Ghana to support the demand for telecommunication services in response to the recent rapid increase in traffic on our networks
    • Vodacom in South Africa was granted a licence on 20 April 2020 for the temporary assignment of spectrum in the IMT700, IMT800, IMT2600 and IMT3500 bands. There are various conditions attached to the licence that relate to supporting the overall national COVID-19 government response.
    • Vodacom in South Africa has set aside a budget of R500 million for network upgrades to facilitate the effective management of the network traffic upsurge during the COVID-19 lockdown initiated in March 2020.
    • Vodacom will further spend more than R9.1 billion in the 2021 financial year to expand and increase capacity and resilience in our network.
  2. Accelerate support to critical government functions

    We are providing health workers with access to connectivity and solutions that will support COVID-19 remote consultations, data collection and testing.

    • Vodacom has provided 20 000 and 1 000 devices in South Africa and Lesotho, respectively, to the Ministry of Health departments for field workers involved in testing and related data collection.
    • In Lesotho, Tanzania and Mozambique, we provided free allocation of data and airtime to healthcare workers, and the ministries of health, higher learning and science to assist in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • In South Africa and Tanzania, we have partnered with the respective ministries of health to continuously send awareness messages to our customers.
    • Vodacom in South Africa partnered with the medical aid provider Discovery Health to offer South Africans easy access to dedicated online COVID-19 screenings and 100 000 free consultations. (these numbers will continually change, so let’s rather exclude them as this copy will be external facing)
    • Through Mezzanine, we provide health solutions that are positioned to assist in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, such as our pathology management solution (eLabs), Stock Visibility Solution and AitaHealth.
    • The Vodacom Group CEO donated 33% of his salary to the Solidarity Fund in South Africa for three months.

    Vodacom provides free access to government educational resources, as well as other educational resources recommended by the national educational authorities and academic institutions.

    • The Vodacom e-School platform exceeded one million registered users in March 2020 during the lockdown in South Africa For instance, in March and April registration grew by 102 246 and 133 004 respectively. The strong growth was fuelled by a strong uptake from learners in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. This demonstrated that the platform is addressing a societal need and that many were finding the platform useful and beneficial. The platform has more than 1.1 million registered users. The platform has curriculum-aligned educational material for grades R to 12 learners and is free to all Vodacom customers.
    • In the DRC, Mozambique and Tanzania, usage of Vodacom Instant Schools (an online learning platform) has increased since March 2020. For instance, in the DRC, levels of active users increased by more than 600% by June 2020.
    • Vodacom provided a zero-rated data offer to all public higher education institutions and public high schools in South Africa and Lesotho.
    • Vodacom has implemented 300 virtual classrooms to enable remote learning
    • In South Africa and Lesotho, Vodacom provided discounted data packages of 30GB at universities to promote blended learning. The data costs were absorbed by the universities.
    • In Tanzania, we donated over R18 million to the government’s COVID-19 Containment Committee for the sourcing of personal protective equipment (PPE).

    Providing support to government to ensure safety and security.

    • Vodacom has provided the My SAPS application to assist in the fight against crime, with over 35 000 users of the application.
    • Vodacom is in the process of developing the BrightSky application to help fight against Gender Based Violence
    • Vodacom is in the process of creating a Gender Based Violence Fund.
  3. Enhance digital accessibility and literacy for the most vulnerable

    Vodacom is offering all our host country governments the ability to disseminate critical COVID-19 related information to assist in dispersing timely and accurate information to the public. This is done via text alerts and providing free access to health and education sites.

    • Vodacom zero-rated access to key government and other essential websites in South Africa (more than 850 essential websites), Lesotho and Tanzania, providing free access to government services such as health, education, home affairs, ambulance services, education sites and government communication services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Vodacom has consolidated our existing zero-rated data services with new essential services aimed at social upliftment into a single ConnectU platform. The platform currently has over 9.1 million unique users.
    • In the DRC, Vodacom zero-rated all COVID-19-related government calls.
  4. Promote widespread digital adoption for businesses including SMEs

    The economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be significant and long-lasting. We are providing businesses of all sizes, with an emphasis on SMEs, with remote working solutions, advice and best practice information on how to use these services in the most effective way.

    • Vodacom has introduced faster supplier payment terms for SMEs that face potential liquidity challenges.
    • Vodacom has extended loans to SMEs, through Vodalend, to assist these enterprises in managing cash flow challenges as COVID-19 impacts intensify in South Africa. Vodacom funded more than 104 SMEs through Vodalend in March 2020.
    • In South Africa, we are offering unlimited data and special offers to SMEs for a limited period.
    • To contribute to the economic recovery, Vodacom has committed to training and developing over 400 SMEs by 2025.
  5. Supporting exit strategies that enable the restarting of the economy and society

    Data insights are essential to understand the effectiveness of lockdown periods and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wherever technically and lawfully possible, Vodacom is assisting governments in acquiring insights based on large anonymised data sets.

    • Vodacom partnered to use geodata tracking and Big Data capabilities to improve government insights on population movement, while respecting individual privacy. We also intend to assist in the modelling of the spread of the virus and movement of people in South Africa, Lesotho and the DRC. This is done under stringent measures, taking into consideration our privacy policies and national regulations.
    • In South Africa, the government issued regulations on contact tracking and tracing. The regulations direct an operator to provide information pertaining to the location or movements of any person known or suspected to have contracted COVID-19, or reasonably suspected to have come into contact with such a person. Vodacom is satisfied that there are enough safeguards in place to ethically share required information within the confinements of the regulations.
  6. Enabling cashless payments and financial inclusion

    During the COVID-19 crisis, M-Pesa is a strong alternative to cash, offering a no-contact payment solution. M-Pesa has worked with regulators to implement various supportive measures across our markets, including enabling free person-to-person transactions, increasing transaction and balance limits, and flexible customer registration and on-boarding.

    • In some of our markets where stringent lockdown measures were applied, mobile financial services were declared an essential service. Vodacom reached agreements with the central banks to lower transaction fees and adjust tier levels to facilitate cashless payments in the DRC, Lesotho and Mozambique.
    • In Lesotho and the DRC, we have zero-rated transactions for merchant transactions and person-to-person money transfers.
    • In South Africa, the Vodacom airtime advance service significantly increased, from R3.6 million to R4.5 million advances per day during the COVID-19 lockdown.
    • In South Africa, Vodacom plans to create a ‘super app’ in partnership with digital payment provider Alipay, to shop online, pay bills and send money to family from FY21.


Vodacom and Discovery fight COVID-19