Telkom drops another FreeMe bomb - TechCentral

Telkom drops another FreeMe bomb

Telkom has launched a new cellular product family, called FreeMe Family, extending its market-shaking, data-led FreeMe plans launched in mid-2016.

The new plans are meant to help families – and small businesses – reduce their cellphone spending and, in the process, attract them away from the bigger rival networks.

Telkom said at a press conference on Sunday that it expects the new plans to be just as disruptive as the original FreeMe proposition.

Like the original plans, FreeMe Family is a data-led proposition, offering free calls and text messages. Other operators tend to offer voice-based packages, with data services added to those.

“This allows families to consolidate their cellphone spending and realise benefits for the entire household with just one account,” Telkom said.

FreeMe Family offers consumers a single view of their family’s (or small business’s) cellphone bill, and users can customise their data allowance and usage at a single fixed fee.

The new plans allow consumers to share data across up to 10 Sim cards. If one user (Sim card) runs out of data, the person who controls the account can simply allocate more available data to that Sim.

FreeMe Family comes in three sizes. Consumers can choose between 30GB, 50GB or “unlimited” shared data, which includes 300, 500 or a thousand shared voice minutes respectively. Prices are R699, R999 and R1 499 for the three packages. The unlimited plan has a 100GB fair-use “cap”, after which speeds are throttled to 128kbit/s.

The primary Sim-card holder can allocate data to family members per the household’s needs. Consumers receive 10GB of Wi-Fi per Sim per month, 3 000 on-network minutes per account, 50 SMS messages per Sim per day and free instant messaging and voice-over-IP calls (but not Skype).

“The standard plan comes with one primary and three multi-Sim cards, but up to six additional multi-Sims can be added. Top-up purchases can be made if data is depleted before the end of the month,” Telkom said.

Explaining how data sharing works, Telkom said: “A family of four sharing 50GB of data may initially allocate 15GB to each parent and 5GB to each child. But if your child keeps running out of data in the first week, you can re-allocate the remaining 10GB in the account, ensuring that you don’t have to pay out-of-bundle charges. Or, if mom and dad have data remaining at the end of the month, they can share this data with the rest of the household.”

The company emphasised that anyone can take advantage of the FreeMe Family plans, including businesses. Given that it offers free on-network calls, and business calls are often to work colleagues, it could help companies cut their cellphone bills.

Telkom said it sold about 260 000 FreeMe bundles in the three months following the launch last year. It was not able to provide more up-to-date figures as these have not yet been disclosed to the market.  — © 2017 NewsCentral Media


  1. The prices were in the Sunday Times yesterday:
    30GB shared data – R699, 50GB shared data – R999 and Unlimited shared data R1499. This sounds like an extension of their Integrated data idea where you get up to 3 additional SIM’s that you can use on any cellular device and it all goes against your home DSL cap and account. This works brilliantly for me and I wondered why they hadn’t promoted it better. I’m now going to move my whole family to this scheme. Great idea!!

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