As consumers increasingly turn to WhatsApp, WeChat, BlackBerry Messenger and other free applications for instant messaging (IM), South African operators may finally be gearing up to fight back over SMS volumes they have lost to IM players.
Vodacom on Friday said it is planning to release a new product within the next month that offers 10 000 person-to-person SMSes per month for a flat monthly fee of just R29. If all of the text messages are used, consumers will pay an effective R0,0029/SMS.
A spokesman for the operator said SMSes that will be included in the R29 bundle will be for those sent to Vodacom customers as well as to customers of other networks. Unlike machine-to-machine SMS communication, no interconnect charges apply between network operators for person-to-person messages.
News of the R29 SMS plan comes alongside new phone-free contract plans introduced by Vodacom on Friday. The four uChoose Smart plans allow consumers to select one of four contracts based on the minutes, data and SMS volumes they expect to use. The plans do not include a subsidised handset.
Vodacom chief commercial officer Phil Patel said the new packages are contract plans that “act like prepaid”. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media