Mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile SA, a joint venture between Cell C and Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, will introduce a new product this weekend that it says will offer reduced prepaid rates to SA consumers.
Virgin Mobile head of strategy & business development, Jonathan Newman, says the new rate is R1,99/minute for the first five minutes of a call, dropping to 99c/minute thereafter. The rate applies all day and represents a 32% reduction over the company’s current prepaid tariff.
The product, which is known as the 99’er, is being launched in partnership with Pick ‘n Pay, and will be rolled out to other outlets early next year. Starter packs cost 99c.
The news comes hard on the heels of the announcement in parliament on Thursday by communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda that the mobile interconnection rate during peak times would be reduced in the first quarter of 2010, from R1,25/minute to 89c/minute. These are the rates the mobile operators charge each other and other network operators to carry calls on their networks.
“Our new rates preempt the reduced interconnection rate,” Newman says.
Like Cell C, MTN and Vodacom, Virgin Mobile is a net beneficiary of the interconnection regime, Newman says, and will feel the pain of a reduced rate.
The company has 200 000 customers, of which 150 000 are contract subscribers. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral