Offered as a new starter pack called MTN Mahala, the operator says it offers “added value, including free airtime, Internet bundles and free SMSes for the first six months of use”.
Calls using the Mahala starter pack are billed at per-second rates — unlike Vodacom, which charges per minute — and “guarantees” 20% free MTN-to-MTN airtime value back for recharges of at least R10.
The starter pack also gives MTN customers 10MB of data for R100 or more of airtime recharges per month. They also get five free SMSes for every 15 they send.
The starter pack also provides access to MTN Zone, which offers discounts based on the time of day, location of the user and network load, among other factors.
Without discounts applied, MTN’s peak-time call rate on the Mahala starter pack is R2,59/minute (billed per second) for on-network calls. Off-network calls, for example to Vodacom or Cell C, cost R2,79/minute in peak times. The off-peak rates are R1,19/minute and R1,30/minute for on-net and off-net calls respectively.
MTN’s move comes after rival Vodacom cut the cost of prepaid rates to R1,20/minute (billed per minute) to all networks. Vodacom also announced that users who call other Vodacom numbers for three minutes will get the next 57 minutes free of charge.
Vodacom’s aggressive move came just a week after smaller rival, Cell C, moved to offer prepaid customers free value for recharging.
Cell C customers who recharge with R100 of airtime, for example, are offered 150 free Cell C to Cell C minutes, 150 on-network SMSes and 150MB of data for use within seven days. The operator is even offering unlimited free on-network calls for 30 days for those who recharge with R500 or more. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media