Telkom has scored a “home run”, and shown that it is leading the mobile market in innovation with the introduction of its new FreeMe Family plans.
That’s the view of mobile spend optimisation company Tariffic, which said on Tuesday that Telkom is continuing to “shake up the market” with the aggressively priced new plans.
TechCentral reported on Sunday that Telkom was launching the new plans, which are aimed at families and small businesses. Like the original FreeMe packages introduced in 2016, the new plans are data-led offerings, with free voice, SMS and other services added.
The plans started at R699/month for up to 10 Sims and 30GB of data that can be shared, and go up to a R1 499/month option that provides “unlimited” data (with a 100GB fair-use policy).
“Telkom, the decades-old telecommunications behemoth has now, believe it or not, become the most innovative mobile network operator in the country,” Tariffic said in a statement.
“Like the regular FreeMe contracts, FreeMe Family plans come with a whack of included data, free Telkom-to-Telkom calls (which means you can call any other family members on the plan for free), free SMSes, and some off-network minutes (to call other mobile networks),” it said. “All contracts come with three Sim cards for different family members, but more can be ordered if required.”
Tariffic said that in terms of value for money, the FreeMe plans “can’t be beaten”.
“There is no other post-paid solution in the market that can get you as much data and minutes across, say, three devices than these packages,” it said.
“Similar mobile family plans have been available in the US since mobile contracts were first introduced, and are probably the most-used contracts in the US market. However, it’s taken South African mobile network operators 20 years to catch up.”
Why has it taken so long? The answer comes down to profit, technical capabilities and market competition, it said.
“Mobile operators make a huge chunk of their profits from ensuring that their users are on the wrong packages, and then laughing all the way to the bank while people either underutilise their contracts (so they, for example, only use 100 minutes out of the 300 minutes that they pay for), or overutilise their contracts (where they go out of bundle and are charge exorbitant out-of-bundle rates for doing so). Telkom’s new FreeMe Family packages, by their nature, aim to reduce this overspend/underutilisation by helping you make sure that everyone is allocated the right amount of minutes and data.
“Another potential reason for the delayed introduction of these family plans is that they are reliant on systems to be developed for consumers to allocate minutes and data to each family user and ensure that this is impacted in real-time on the networks. This may sound easy enough, but the network operators have become so big over the years that any system development of this nature is sure to be a mammoth challenge. And in their world, the outcome of such a platform may not warrant the development required.
“The third reason is that the current competition in the market hasn’t really necessitated such innovation. It seems the operators have been content to introduce new, yet outdated, contracts and to try squeeze out margin wherever they can, rather than think outside the box. It is left to Telkom, the minority player in the South African cellular arena, to start pushing the envelope if they want to really capture market share,” Tariffic concluded. — © 2017 NewsCentral Media