The telecommunications operator will no longer sell its old FreeMe contract data bundle sizes – 1GB, 2GB, 5GB, 10GB, 20GB and Unlimited – and is replacing them with bundles described as 1.5GB, 3GB, 6GB, 11.5GB and 28GB. New prepaid plans are on offer from R29 for 300MB of data (14-day validity and up).
Telkom said the new FreeMe tariff plans, which are available from Friday, 20 March, remain “the best in the market”. Despite this, it’s clear the company has moved to claw back some of the more generous aspects of the plans. See the two tables below for more details about the plans and what they offer.
The new FreeMe bundles include all-network data, which can be used on both the Telkom network and roaming partner Vodacom’s network; WhatsApp data (for both messaging and calling); on-net voice minutes to make calls to Telkom mobile and Telkom fixed numbers; voice minutes for calls to other networks on selected plans; SMSes; and streaming data that can be used for both music and video streaming.
All-network data is valid for 61 days while all the other included benefits will be valid for 31 days, Telkom said. The smaller prepaid bundles (300MB and 500MB) will have a validity period of 14 days only.
An analysis shows that the plans offer less value than before.
For example, the new 28GB FreeMe monthly plan offers 20GB of general use data plus 4GB of WhatsApp data, 4GB for streaming, 1 000 minutes of calling to other networks, and 3 000 minutes to Telkom landline and mobile numbers. The cost is R689/month. However, the old 20GB plan offered 20GB of general-use data, 2GB of WhatsApp data, 3 000 on-network minutes and 1 500 minutes to other networks. That plan cost R605/month, 12.2% less than the new one, which has 500 fewer off-net minutes.
To be fair, however, the bundled voice minutes are still very generous and few consumers would use them all.
Looking at the entry-level post-paid plans, Telkom is also eroding customer value. On its new 1.5GB plan, it offers 1GB of general-use data, 250MB of data for WhatsApp, 250MB of streaming data, 500 on-net minutes and 25 off-net minutes. There are also 100 SMSes per month included. But on its old 1GB FreeMe plan, it offered 1GB of general-use data, 2GB of WhatsApp data, 3 000 on-net minutes and 50 SMSes a day.
Prepaid plans have also seen the benefits chopped.
The entry-level 150MB FreeMe prepaid bundle, which previously offered 150MB of general-use data, 150MB of data for instant messaging and Internet calls, 50 SMSes and 150 on-network minutes for R29, now offers 150MB of general-use data, 50 on-net minutes and 75MB for WhatsApp (plus 75MB for streaming) at the same price. Both the old and new plans have 14-day validity.
The old 2GB plan offered 2GB of general-use data, 100 SMSes, 300 on-net minutes, and 500MB for instant messaging and Internet calls (all valid for 61 days after recharging). Now rebranded as FreeMe 3GB, it offers 2GB of general-use data (61-day validity), 500MB for WhatsApp, 500MB for streaming, 500 on-net minutes, 50 off-net minutes and 100 SMSes (all 31-day validity). Though the benefits are similar between the two, the price has risen from R150 to R189. — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media