SA gets Afrikaans-only mobile network - TechCentral

SA gets Afrikaans-only mobile network

Steve Bailey

Steve Bailey

There’s no doubt that this is a world first! Afrikaans radio station Bok Radio and mobile specialist MVN-X will on Tuesday launch an Afrikaans-only mobile network.

The network, BokSel, is a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, similar to Virgin Mobile or FNB Connect. But it will be available exclusively in Afrikaans.

BokSel’s first customers will be listeners of Bok Radio, which has a strong following in the Western Cape. However, the network is open to all Afrikaans speakers in the country seeking a mobile network alternative, its backers said.

BokSel offers fully customisable online packages on, again all in Afrikaans.

“All around the world there is a consumer trend towards serving customers in their mother tongue,” said Steve Bailey, CEO of MVN-X, which provides infrastructure and technical support to BokSel.

“With Bok Radio having such a loyal and engaged audience, it presented an opportunity to tap into this trend by providing Afrikaans speakers with a mobile network that serves them in their home language and some great value-added services in Afrikaans,” Bailey said in a statement.

Like other South African MVNOs, BokSel’s network is built on top of Cell C’s infrastructure. However, MVN-X has provided the technical backbone and professional customer support service in Afrikaans.

BokSel customers can sign up to music streaming service Simfy and digital magazines platform MagZone. On Simfy, Bok Radio has created ready-made playlists compiled by their DJs. MagZone provides access to Afrikaans titles such as Sarie, Idees, Leef, Huisgenoot, Tuis, Kuier, Weg!, Wegry, Wegsleep, Landbou, Jagter, TV Plus, Kyknet, M-Net Magazine and Finweek.

As far as cellular packages are concerned, users are not locked into long-term contracts and can upgrade and downgrade between packages at any time.


BokSel’s data bundles and prices

There’s a R49/month value bundle that offers calls at 79c/minute and out-of-bundle data at 99c/MB.

A R99 plan offers 60c/minute calling and 99c/MB data, while R199 and R299 options provide 69c and 59c calling and 99c/MB data.

A top-end package, for R399/month, provides unlimited talk-time as well as out-of-bundle data at 99c/minute.

Several data bundles are also available (see the table above for details).  — © 2016 NewsCentral Media


  1. I am going to set up the only English Mobile Network in South Africa, with no option button for the other languages!!!! lol what tells you hard times have set in!!!

  2. Haha the comments are funny, but my mother, whom were only taught Afrikaans in school in the 1950’s, can’t speak English to save her life, so for people like her this can be ideal… but otherwise no, most people can speak English. I am Afrikaans myself but when I call or visit places I don’t even bother mentioning it, just go with English

  3. No business sense at all, or can I call it a business nonsense!!!!!!!

  4. Why is it stupid? One can make the same argument for Afrikaans music, Afrikaans television, an Afrikaans radio station, or any other language. Yes, a niche market is limited, but can still be very profitable.

  5. William Stucke on

    Oh dear. At first I wondered if the headline meant some Big Brother monitoring to ensure that only Afrikaans was spoken on the network 😉

    So, the menus and help functions for BokSel are in Afrikaans by default, as opposed to requiring one to click something to choose your language – a feature that seems to be missing from all four MNO’s websites. Shame on them!

    Go for it, guys. You have identified an opportunity to service a niche market. That’s the joy of capitalism – be clever, make customers happy, and make some money. Sterkte, ouens!

  6. ah so you did the buss studies and ROI, and have all the figures? doubt it, nonsense comment from you, i call it stupid comment.

  7. slightly more expensive than the main players, but we have seen, like the Afrikaans music market, Afrikaners will support Afrikaans initiatives. Who would have thought there to be enough of a market for so many Afrikaans singers, yet it is there and it exist. Sterkte Boksel!!

  8. General Tyers on

    Well I (Also Afrikaans guy) think the “exclusively in Afrikaans” is stupid. Why make it exclusive? I understand if you are going to add more languages later as it’s just entering the market but why exclude all the other people. You can just make the main business language Afrikaans and add alternatives. How would having a client basis of just Afrikaners improve mobile business?

  9. WWWdotVIRSEKERdotCOdotZA 🙂 Advertising a lot on Kyknet, so there must be some sort of “demand”?

  10. Magnus Springston on

    I didn’t think time travel was possible until I read this piece.

    I guess if you aim low enough you are bound to make some money out of the very few South Africans that are afrikaans, screw the rest. I have always wondered how far people were willing to retain their “exclusionary” mentality on society, this one meets all the criteria for a legal- and, at the very least, media-ticking-time-bomb.

    Logic, as it may seem, is still not logical in some areas of society all the same.

  11. Magnus Springston on

    I agree Realist, you too are more than likely a stupid afrikaans guy.

  12. Orania is doing extremely well my friend, so I would imagine with the type of fortitude displayed in that township that this network will also thrive, despite the endless racist and economic bullying from big mouth Mbalula and his tape worm buddies in the ANC’s Zuma cabinet. Bullying enabled with tax Rands from myself of course. Boksel isn’t costing the non-Afrikaners a cent.
    I personally thank this blog for this snippet of great news and will be signing up with Boksel asap.

  13. Magnus Springston on

    The thing with stupid, is that it always stays that way no matter how you try to dress it up. There is no angle of logic on this one I’m afraid.

  14. How does the Afrikaans must fall campaign compare to this Afrikaans only offering? There are many sectors of society that want offerings in their home language. Just because that is not English doesn’t make it invalid. If the concept of being able to access a service offering in your language of choice appeals to you that’s great. You might not care if everyone else is by default offering it in your language but think how you would feel if the only language companies offered was Zulu or Xosa. You may well welcome an English offering in your home tongue.

  15. Magnus Springston on

    The “afrikaans must fall campaign” has been going on since the 1950’s so I do not think this can be compared to that. I do not know anyone who likes afrikaans except those who are afrikaans. Afrikaans has always seen red when imposed on a people and I guess that is the difference here, you have to be wanting/willing to be served in afrikaans. It all boils down to choice. So good for them and all the best, it is a niche and by definition exclusionary.

  16. Richard Viljoen on

    I am going to start my own radio and mobile station im going to call it Black Mobile

  17. Jonathan Christen on

    What is stupid with wanting to be served in your own language?! It makes communication with the service provider so much easier when both client and service consultant’s mother tongues are the same. Not necessarily Afrikaans, but in this case, exactly that. I think that as long as you are spending your hard earned money, it should be on what you want. And if I can be served by someone in my mother tongue, not necessarily Afrikaans, my life would be easier. And I dont think there is one group of our multi-cultural, multi-lingual nation that would disagree with me. Xhosa people would prefer getting served in their language by someone who actually speaks their language. Same with the Zulu… Sotho… Spedi… etc.

    So go on Boksel, serve your proudly Afrikaans patrons in the language they are comfortable with!

  18. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>Just because that is not English doesn’t make it invalid.

    Don’t know why we even bother with having census; and if people and especially business were to visit the data it would certainly result in more such offerings across various industries…

    …I don’t think that the value proposition is just with the Afrikaans language; the Radio Bok brand has an established following and that is what I believe will be leveraged by BokSel;

    >>On Simfy, Bok Radio has created ready-made playlists compiled by their DJs. MagZone provides access to Afrikaans titles such as Sarie, Idees, Leef, Huisgenoot, Tuis, Kuier, Weg!, Wegry, Wegsleep, Landbou, Jagter, TV Plus, Kyknet, M-Net Magazine and Finweek.

    …the idea is not new in the SA marketplace; it has already been explored and discussed ages ago for partnership with African Indigenous language radio stations;

    …and BokSel with Bok Radio is bound to be the first out the starting blocks given that there’s always more issues of concern and red tape with the other targeted available potential radio partners.

  19. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day on

    A first in the world….I’m guessing because they don’t speak Afrikaans very much anywhere else in the world.

  20. Wilson's Toffee on

    Okay… so I have read through the comments and I have noticed something, out of all the people in support of this venture, two people actually commented in Afrikaans. Yes, the article is written in English, but still, only one?
    Good luck to them but as an English speaking individual I actually don’t agree with this at all. Yes, preserve your language and heritage, but don’t forget that we are all a part of a much bigger world family. English may not be the primary national language of every country in the world, but it is used in business, tourism etc… Don’t limit a business venture by creating an impression of exclusionism.

  21. on

    You are an idiot. You are so tied up in your Englishnes and hatred of Afrikaans. Try opening your mind a bit

  22. Magnus Springston on

    I am an idiot, maybe, but what does that have to do with the argument… Get some help mate, I have an opinion whether you like it or not, I do not like afrikaans, like very many millions of South Africans. Period.

  23. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>So good for them and all the best, it is a niche and by definition exclusionary.

    There are definite instances where in such a matured market, where nearly everyone has a cell phone, a strategy that has a niche focus can be relatively profitable.

    Am not, entirely convinced from their pricing, that this is going to be viable given the very small margins that one now has to play with in a market that is very much pre-paid driven.

    In SA, the BIG corporates are known bullies; and I would imagine that Bok Radio’s, primary source of revenue is advertising; and there’s a real risk of losing the ad revenue spend from the BIG MNOs competing with Cell C –

    …also; the margins on ongoing revenue from airtime are so small, nowadays; that even when a company is being bullied by the likes of a retail giant, like Shoprite Checkers; to stifle the telecoms company from entering the ticketing game –

    …the bully is shown the middle finger and the telecoms company goes ahead and buys TicketPro because there are better margins in the ticketing game.

    The idea is good and there is a niche market that can be serviced but I don’t think that the Afrikaans exclusivity numbers are going to make for a viable business with the kind of cut-throat fierce competition that exists.

  24. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>out of all the people in support of this venture, two people actually commented in Afrikaans. Yes, the article is written in English, but still, only one?

    The metric for language used in comments to an article written English is useful but misleading in this instance and I would recommend that you also add to your analysis, the metric of article with top number of comments on TC.

  25. on

    You are not just an idiot -you are a closed minded little idiot.
    Nobody anywhere else in the world has any objection to Afrikaans. You can use it in Belgium and parts of Holland and in most other countries it is accepted as just another language.
    Many black people don’t like Afrikaans due to its connection to Apartheid – understandable.
    Many black people speak Afrikaans – after Zulu and Xhosa it is the most widely spoken language in SA.
    Your pathetic dislike makes you a joke among 90% of the people in this country as you have no reason for your dislike except possibly jealousy.
    Grow up little boy.
    Look at the sense spoken by people like Vusumuzi Sibiya and try to reach his level of maturity

  26. Magnus Springston on

    No mate growing up to afrikaans would not be growing up at all. Yes it is just another language but one that is forced on a people. Use your brain for a minute and think how many people actually speak the language out of choice and love for it, except those who are forced to. The only person that needs to get their eyes and mind broadened is you. Grow a pair and just think a little for once in your life away from your indoctrination, there is more to life than a desperate survivalist language that is afrikaans. Let it go. Like I said, get some help on your personal anger issues, this is not the place nor the platform for that.

    No, you aren’t worth it actually. Wasting my time with a closed minded evidently misled individual. cheers bud.

  27. on

    Nobody is forced to speak Afrikaans.
    It is the home language of half the whites and many black and coloured people.
    Your pettiness defines you completely.

  28. Magnus Springston on

    Glad you think so. This has effectively become a non-argument and you are a simple waste of time. Simple for your sake, in Afrikaans.

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