SB Mobile: Standard Bank launches its MVNO - TechCentral

SB Mobile: Standard Bank launches its MVNO

Standard Bank has taken the wraps off Standard Bank Mobile, its new virtual mobile network operator (MVNO), which will piggyback off the Cell C network.

The MVNO is available immediately to Standard Bank clients. Non-clients won’t be able to join the network. The launch means Standard Bank is the second retail bank in South Africa to launch an MVNO after FNB.

The launch comes after TechCentral reported earlier this year that Standard Bank planned to launch an MVNO, despite saying a few years ago that it had decided against the idea.

The new venture is headed by Steve Bailey, a former CEO of Virgin Mobile in South Africa, who later went on to help launch a number of MVNOs, including for brands such as Mr Price.

The “integrated”, rather than standalone offering, rewards subscription customers with free airtime and data for doing their banking. Customers also earn free data every time they use their credit, cheque or debit cards.

The bank has done away with data bundles, with customers able to select the price that suits them, with no expiry. Data is priced from 5c/MB, up to 15c/MB. Voice calls are priced at between 49c/minute and 99c/minute, all on per-second billing. Contracts are month to month, with no long-term lock-in.

A base subscription is R39/month (the free is waived on the most basic entry-level accounts), on top of which clients can purchase unlimited data and voice minutes (based on a sliding schedule of tariffs) as set out in the table below:

Source: Standard bank

Current account holders will automatically get free airtime, starting at R50 value for a Consolidator account, going up to R469 for a Signature account. Elite, Prestige, and Professional and Private account holders will get R105, R205 and R369 of airtime respectively.

Sum(1), Student Achiever and Access credit cardholders will get 250MB or R25 of airtime a month, while Gold, Platinum, Titanium and World Citizen credit cardholders get R100/month of airtime.

Tiered rewards

Rewards are tiered so that every time a Standard Bank customer transacts, they get something back. 1MB of data is given back for every R10 spent.

Though Standard Bank has entered into the MVNO agreement with Cell C (and by extension will use MTN’s network to roam outside the cities), it said it remains open to other network providers in future, especially as it adds other services and expands the offering to other markets in Africa. Bailey said the bank engaged with all South African operators. “There were varying degrees of interest, but Cell C was most ready from a technical point of view.”

SB Mobile plans to provide handsets in the first quarter of 2019, which will be available on monthly payment plans, and to add broadband services, including fixed-LTE and fibre, soon thereafter. “The current service will provide a branded Sim card with a new number, while existing cell numbers can also be retained,” the bank said.  — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media

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