Autopage moves to allay client fears - TechCentral

Autopage moves to allay client fears

Boyd Chislett

Boyd Chislett

Altron-owned cellular service provider Altech Autopage has moved to allay customer concerns about plans to sell the business’s subscriber base to South Africa’s mobile operators.

In a statement on Thursday, Autopage MD Boyd Chislett said the company’s operations and customer services will continue uninterrupted throughout the process.

“It is important to note that while we are in discussions to sell our GSM bases, upgrading of existing customer contracts or taking out of new contracts will continue should the proposed sale go ahead,” Chislett said.

“Customer contracts will simply be transferred and the existing contractual arrangements with our customers at that point in time will be maintained on the same terms,” he said.

“This means that our customers will not lose any of the benefits of their contracts with Altech Autopage. Pricing, services and deals on handsets when upgraded also remain unchanged.”

He said, too, that Autopage’s retail presence and customer service centres will be unaffected by the talks to sell the subscriber base.

“My primary message to our customers is to have faith in us during this period. We have built up a long and successful history of service provision in the industry and will continue to do so during this period,” Chislett said.

On 12 May, TechCentral reported that Altron is in advanced-stage negotiations to sell Autopage’s mobile subscriber base in a move that comes just a year after rival Nashua Mobile, owned by Reunert, concluded a similar transaction.

Altron has been rumoured for some time to be in discussions with the mobile operators with a view to selling the Autopage GSM subscriber base.

The operators are putting increasing pressure on channel distributors as cuts to mobile call termination rates and to retail rates have eaten into margins.

Autopage is the last large independent cellular service provider in South Africa. It has about a million customers on its books.

“Altron’s decision to dispose of these subscriber bases has been based on, among others, the impacts of the ongoing mobile termination rate reductions, as well as continued industry and consumer deflationary pressures,” the group said at the time.

Last April, Reunert announced it had agreed to sell Nashua Mobile’s MTN and Vodacom subscriber bases to the two mobile operators for R2,3bn excluding VAT. Nashua Mobile has since been closed down.  – © 2015 NewsCentral Media

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