Mobile telecom’s “Robin Hood” is at it again

Cell C "99 Cents for Real" Prepaid Special Advert

I awarded Cell C a virtual Mobile Consumer Champion medal for their introduction of mobile data price war in late 2010, and I am being proven right in my prediction that there was going to be more to come from them. The South African telecom’s “Robin Hood” has introduced what is billed as the first-ever most competitive prepaid voice rate of 99 cents per minute; with per second billing from the first second, anytime and regardless of mobile number called. For the first time, apparently this new rate is even better than a contract voice rate, albeit this may not be for long as pointed out by the new CEO of Cell C, Alan Knott-Craig. Vodacom followed suit with their competing prepaid voice rate, and 8ta is also looking to joining in. Only time will tell if MTN will play the “follow the leader” game again, despite statements to the contrary.

Related post: Wireless broadband costs in South Africa have started trending down, thanks to Cell C

Being a stickler for specials of all things mobile – and you can blame it on my entrepreneurial “tendencies”,  I ported my mobile number today, so that I can take advantage of this new Cell C prepaid voice rate, which proved to be a painless exercise. What is great about South Africa’s regulations is that I can port my number again after (only) 2 months, in case I want to go back to my original mobile operator or take advantage of another better special offered by a different operator at that time. While porting has not been used by many mobile consumers as was expected since its launch in 2006, my prediction is that a few more cash-strapped consumers with prepaid numbers will consider it more seriously this time around, what with shrinking disposable incomes brought about by the likes of increased taxes – electricity, municipal rates, and even ridiculously high street parking fees for Jo’burgers!

Is Alan Knott Craig’s re-entry into the telecoms industry going to shake it to its core? I certainly hope so!

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