In mid-May 2012, Cell C launched a new pre-paid voice product and tariff plan called ’99 Cents For Real’. This new service slashes off-net and peak call tariffs to 99c per minute, and at the same time, cuts the rate of MMS messaging to 99c per message and gives customers data at 99c per MB.
Vodacom was quick to follow, and also launched a 99c pre-paid voice promotion. However, Vodacom’s promotion has per-minute billing instead of per second (as is the case with Cell C’s ’99 Cents For Real’) and also did not cut the price of pre-paid data.
MTN said that its pre-paid tariffs remain the most affordable in the market despite pre-paid price cuts by its competitors.
8ta in turn argued that whilst competing on price ultimately benefits the customer in the short term, “competing on value is more sustainable in the long term”.
This raises the question of how the various operators compare when it comes to pre-paid pricing. The following tables provide an overview of how Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and 8ta stack up against each other.
|Service||Per second billing||Voice (peak)||Voice (off-peak)||Data||MMS||SMS||Added benefits|
|Cell C 99 cents for real||Yes||R0.99||R0.99||R0.99 per MB||R0.99||R0.50||–|
|Vodacom 99c promotion||No||R0.99||R0.99||R2.00 per MB||R0.80||R0.50||
|MTN One Rate||Yes||R1.75||R1.75||R2.00 per MB||R0.90||R0.50||–|
|8ta||Yes||R2.75||R1.12||R1.00 per MB||R0.50||R0.50||
|Service||10s daytime call||1min 12s evening call||5min 36s daytime call (336)|
|Cell C 99 cents for real||R0.17||R1.19||R5.54|
|Vodacom 99c promotion||R0.99||R1.49||R5.94|
|MTN One Rate||R0.29||R2.10||R9.80|