How to access data-free COVID-19 information in SA

Date:19 March 2020 Author: Imogen Searra Tags:, ,

Those looking to access the South African coronavirus website but have no data will be able to do so regardless, due to cloud technology company biNu.

According to TimesLive, people will have access to updated information, resources and statistics without having to worry about data costs.

The availability of these resources will help users to garner information that is reliable and true, curbing the spread of misinformation. The site is accessible on any device across all mobile network operators.

BiNu said that any device with a SIM card that has no airtime or data balance will be able to access the site.

Gour Lentell, biNu’s CEO told TimesLives: “At biNu, we wanted to contribute to and support the country in this time of need, so we made #datafree access available to the official SA coronavirus website through our reverse billed data agreements with mobile network operators, which translates to biNu paying the data cost instead of mobile subscribers.”

In light of all the COVID-19 crisis in South Africa, Vodacom has stipulated it’s efforts to keep people connected, to keep its staff safe and to support school learners:

Vodacom Group’s Chief Executive Officer Shameel Joosub, said: “Vodacom can play a critical role in supporting society during this unprecedented time and is committed to doing its utmost during this rapidly evolving situation. We will endeavour to put measures in place to keep South Africans connected to their family and friends and to ensure businesses can continue to run using remote working in this time of national challenge. At the same time, we are ramping up efforts to support learners with their studies now that schools are having an unscheduled, longer holiday.”

These measures include:

• In partnership with the Department of Health, Vodacom is providing SMS awareness messaging to over 44 million subscribers on hygiene etiquette.

• The data, voice and connectivity services that are offered will allow customers to stay connected while reducing social contact. Vodacom is making sure they have sufficient network capacity to enable people and businesses to work seamlessly from home. Communication is an essential service and since theirs is a sector of sectors, the availability of their network is key to the effective functioning of all the other sectors of the economy.

• Vodacom will continue to provide its zero rated and premium Mum and Baby maternal health and education services to pregnant women and caregivers. This service assists women and caregivers to avoid long queues to access services.

• To assist with education while learners and students are on extended leave, Vodacom has put in place the following:

1. Vodacom’s e-School platform is already used by almost 900 000 learners. They have now significantly increased server capacity to ensure that increased numbers of users enjoy a seamless experience. e-School is free for all Vodacom subscribers and carries content in all 11 official languages from Grade R to 12.

Content includes assignments, quizzes and learning videos that are fully aligned with the CAPS curriculum. The service is accessible via mobile devices, tablets, laptops and desktops. Students using e-School will be able to complete homework questions, revise some of the work they have already done at school, browse past exam papers, get tips and advice on how to improve their marks, download subject material and watch content-related videos. E-School can be accessed through our ConnectU portal on ConnectU also provides free access to education, health, job and information services.

2. Vodacom is engaging with public universities to ensure maximum use of the zero-rated platforms already in place as well as seeking to connect the public Universities and TVET colleges that currently do not make use of these free services.


Image: Unsplash

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