Cell C is moving to address growing political, regulatory and consumer pressure on the industry over the expiry of data and high out-of-bundle data prices by slashing prices and relaxing expiry rules.
The mobile operator, South Africa’s third largest after Vodacom and MTN, said the move is mean to tackle “two of the major issues faced by data customers”.
“The way customers consume data has changed and as a business, to remain customer focused, we need to adapt our own rules and processes to better meet their needs,” said CEO Jose Dos Santos.
As a first step, the company will be reducing its out-of-bundle data rate for prepaid customers on its lowest tariff plan to 15c/MB, effective from 1 October 2017. That works out to an effective R150/GB out of bundle.
The company, which recently completed a restructuring and recapitalisation under which Blue Label Telecoms and Net1 UEPS Technologies have together invested R7.5bn in the business, said its 66c prepaid product is getting the reduced out-of-bundle charges.
Customers must opt in to the lower charges by dialling *147# and selecting option 1, it said. They are able to bolt on data bundles, too, said Dos Santos.
Post-paid customers are also catered for, he said, with the Connector plans offering the new 15c/MB out-of-bundle rate.
At the same time, Cell C said it is moving to address the expiry of unused data by allowing customers to extend the validity of their data bundles by purchasing a new bundle before the current one expires.
From 20 September, customers can extend the validity of their data bundles indefinitely by simply purchasing another data bundle before the current one expires. Bundles start at R29 for 100MB.
On the 10GB, 20GB and 30GB data bundles, Cell C has extended the validity period from 30 days to 90 days. However, this still falls far short of the controversial expiry period of two years proposed by communications regulator Icasa for data bundles of 20GB and larger.
From October 2017, contract SmartData customers will automatically have unused data carried over to the next month, effectively extending the validity of their data from 30 days to 60 days.
“These are just the first steps for Cell C to make it easier for customers to ensure that they can carry over unused data. We will be looking at innovative ways to ensure that customers get what they are looking for, while at the same time ensuring that we constantly invest in network quality,” said Dos Santos in a statement. — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media