Telkom’s mobile subsidiary, 8ta, has won the race with its bigger rivals to be the first to bring the Apple iPad to its network.
The iPad arrived in selected SA stores last Friday, with people keenly waiting to find out whether the country’s mobile operators would provide services aimed at the popular tablet device.
“We are proud to be selected as the preferred data provider. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Apple,” 8ta managing executive Amith Maharaj said in a statement on Friday morning.
World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck says 8ta has made a good opening gambit with the release of its data bundles exclusively for iPad. However, he feels it’s left a gaping hole for competitors to fill.
8ta has released three offerings for the iPad: 512MB of data for R120, 1GB for R160, and 3GB for R299. The data bundles are all prepaid and do not include the iPad itself, which has to be purchased separately at full retail price.
Goldstuck says 8ta’s offer could be attractive to customers used to paying for MTN and Vodacom data. “But these prices will ultimately be compared to Cell C’s data prices, which are much better,” he says.
Cell C rocked the Internet industry last year when it revealed the best mobile data rates in the country. It sells 2GB/month at R149 and 5GB/month at R299, including a modem, on a 12-month contract. These are introductory rates, but there’s no sign the special tariffs will end soon.
MTN and Vodacom still have a lot of work to do if they’re to remain competitive. MTN sells 2GB of data for R389; Vodacom charges R989 for 5GB and R520 for 3GB.
For now, 8ta has first-mover advantage. However, other operators are gearing up to provide similar products.
MTN chief marketing operator Serame Taukobong says the operator will soon begin offering data bundles for the iPad. However, he declines to say when these will be launched. In the meantime, he says MTN customers can use the company’s regular data products on the iPad.
“Micro Sim cards and existing data bundles are already available at MTN branded stores. Customers who have existing MTN data plans may opt to swop these Sims for micro Sims in store,” he says.
Vodacom and Cell C had not responded to calls for comment by the time of publication. — Candice Jones, TechCentral
- See also: iPad on sale in SA: all the details