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E-Rate Explained

What is e-rate? 

E-rate is a tariff that offers customers a 50% discount on their data usage. It was promulgated in Government Gazette 331291 of 1 August 2008.

Who is the e-rate tariff available to?

The e-rate tariff is available to South African Schools and Technical Vocational Education and Training Colleges (TVETs).

What will each qualifying school receive?

Each qualifying school will need to contact their preferred telecommunications provider for an e-rate SIM card, Fibre Optics or ADSL line which will allow them access to the Internet at the reduced rate.

What will the school need to access the Internet on the e-rate?

The school will need the following:

  • At least one computer, tablet or smartphone to access Internet
  • A Wireless (WiFi) router capable of connecting to the telecommunications provider's network
  • An e-rate SIM card or connection
  • An airtime data bundle if applicable.


How do schools apply for the e-rate?

  • Please first check whether your school is already on the e-rate. Enquire with your telecommunications provider. At least 10% of schools, especially those using the Universal Services and Access Obligations solutions provided by the mobile telephone companies free of charge, should already be on the e-rate.
  • If your school is not on the e-rate, then your school should first apply to your telecommunications provider.
  • If the telecommunications provider is unable to assist, schools can contact the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) using the attached form on the other side of this leaflet.


Other points to note:

  • The e-rate tariff will have a special profile allocated, generally restricting any adult content from being viewed.
  • Schools will be charged for the replacement of lost / damaged SIM cards.
  • For security reasons, do not disclose your e-rate SIM PIN, or your telecommunications service provider passwords to anyone including employees of telecommunications providers.
  • School staff members may not borrow the school e-rate SIM Card to use at home. The SIM Card must remain at the school.
  • The e-Rate SIM Card may not be used in a personal cellular telephone or modem.
  • The telecommunications provider may at their discretion zero-rate certain content, such as, and That means that you will pay R 0.00 to view or download content from those sites. Please contact your telecommunications provider to enquire as to whether they zero rate those sites.


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