Unisa students get data and connectivity to assist with May/June examinations - Updated 15 June 2020

Unisa and MTN data boost for students

We have great news! As a currently registered Unisa student living in South Africa, you will receive 30GB of data per month (10GB anytime and 20GB night time) for the period mid-May to mid-July 2020, thanks to a ground-breaking partnership between Unisa and the MTN Group.

This means that you will have sufficient data and connectivity to submit assignments, prepare for your exams and successfully complete your May/June 2020 exams.

Although Unisa has always been an Open Distance and eLearning university, the Covid-19 pandemic has compelled the university to reconsider some of the academic activities that still required physical application, such as the submission of hard copy assignments and venue-based exams and confine them to strictly online application.

Prof Mandla Makhanya, Unisa's Principal and Vice-Chancellor pointed out that "as a caring and responsible university, driven by strong values of Ubuntu/Botho and being fully cognisant of the dire socio-economic conditions that many of our students find themselves in, we took this considered decision that all our students must have access to data, with the university carrying the cost, so that they are enabled to write their exams and succeed in their studies. Our partnership with MTN is also ideal in this regard, not only because of the favourable rate they have given us, but most importantly because of the size of their footprint and their reach, here on our shores and on the African continent, where we also have a significant number of students."

What do I need to do?

The project will be launched on Thursday 21 May 2020. 

You cannot use your current SIM card for this initiative. You must purchase an MTN SIM card from an MTN shop or any other shop selling MTN SIM cards. This means you can procure the new MTN SIM card from Thursday 21 May 2020. 

This is a data deal. To make voice calls you will need to purchase airtime. You will be able to use any data platform, including WhatsApp and other data-related messaging and browsing tools.


Follow this steps to claim your Unisa data with MTN


The following frequently asked questions might provide the answers to any questions you have

Why did Unisa not negotiate with other service providers?

Unisa invited all service providers to submit their proposals.  Only MTN submitted a proposal within our prescribed timeframe. This then means that this is a proposal which was considered by the University. Unisa negotiated with all the service providers, but MTN offered Unisa the best deal that means that Unisa saved millions of Rands on this deal.

Why can I not use my current SIM card to upload the data provided?

The deal is structured in such a way that you must purchase a new SIM card that will be validated and that MTN will RICA through Unisa. You do not need to RICA this SIM card. The deal is for a limited period of two months to enable registered students to prepare and write the examination. The arrangement is intended to avoid any interruption to whatever arrangements that registered students already have with their existing service providers. It is also intended to ensure that there is proper control of the service.  Please remember that this service is limited to data.  If a Unisa student has an existing MTN prepaid number, this can be used however the number will be migrated onto the data package and any airtime or data the student had on their old MTN prepaid number will fall away upon migration.


What do I do if I have only one device with its own SIM card?

You will have to remove your own SIM card from your device and use the new MTN SIM card to use the data.


What must I do if I do not want to take up the deal of 30G data from Unisa?

You do not have to claim the deal. However, you have 30 days from the 19th May 2020 to benefit from this deal, should you change your mind. 


When exactly will the deal become active?

The deal will be active on receipt of the SMS notification as indicated in Step 7 of the Claim Your Unisa Data with MTN Process.


How long will the free data last?

The data will last for two months from the date of activation.

What is the latest date that I can activate the free data offer? 

Activation of the offer is only available until 21 June. You need to have bought your new MTN sim card and completed the instructions above as at midnight on 21 June in order to qualify. No late activations will be accepted, and you will forfeit the offer.


I am an international student. Does this deal apply to me?

Unfortunately, not, it is only for students living in South Africa. This is as a result of the fact that we managed to reach this deal when it was too late to make arrangements with authorities beyond the borders of South Africa to assist with RICA requirements. 

What do I do when I need to do a SIM Swop?

Send your request to or via 083135 and MTN will verify your details with Unisa and Unisa will issue you with a letter which you must take you to the MTN shop where after the SIM swop will be activated.

Will this initiative also assist members of Unisa staff with data?

Unisa is working on a separate deal for staff to enable them to also deliver on our ODeL mandate. The arrangements and nature of this deal  will be communicated soon. 


Can I only use this data to do my examinations?

The data is meant for you to use to prepare for and write your examinations. Unisa released the examination timetable over the weekend of 16 and 17 May 2020 where we informed you of how we are conducting your examination your non-venue based examinations.  This will give you an opportunity to explore the platforms in advance for the upcoming examinations. Please do not waste your data and then end up in a situation where you will not have sufficient data for the examinations. 


What do I do if I do not have MTN coverage in my area or my MTN coverage is bad?

The MTN Network Group will monitor all active lines and attempt to boost the signal strength where students are. Students can call the MTN call center number 083 900 1212 to report network issue and MTN will investigate.


What do I do if the shop wants me to Rica the new MTN sim card and I do not have the necessary documents with me?

  • Option 1: Visit a local store within your area other than the mall or retailers
  • Option 2:  If you have an existing prepaid sim, send your student number to the short SMS code  44304. Please note any remaining airtime bundle will be depleted once converted to Post-Paid
  • Option 3:  Existing MTN post-paid OR Contract numbers can get their data loaded onto their MTN contract line. SMS from your contract line the following (the word “contract” + student number) to 44304.
  • Option 4: Contact 083135 for further assistance


What do I do if I do not receive an SMS back after sending the SMS to the MTN code?

Please wait for 4 hours. If no response, please resend SMS to 44304.


What do I do if I receive an SMS on my normal cellphone number without buying and claiming a new MTN sim card?

If someone has used your student number to claim the data, you will receive an SMS to your registered Unisa contact number. Please email to report any unauthorized transactions against your student number.


How do I check my data bundle balances?

Be in control of your account at all times with all the basics at your fingertips on our MyMTN app.

Dial *136#

Buy voice and data bundles
Manage your usage
View balances


 Download the MyMTN app for free by finding it in your supported app store:

 MTN Call Centre: 135


Can I top up additional airtime or data, should the allocated data deplete before the next provisioning?

Yes, using the MyMTN App for the End-user’s expense.

What do I do when I need to do a SIM Swop?


Send your request to or via 083135 and MTN will verify your details with Unisa and Unisa will issue you with a letter which you must take you to the MTN shop where after the SIM swop will be activated.

Publish date: 2020/06/15