Cell C enters mobile pricing competition

While describing its rates as “some of the lowest”, Saudi-owned Cell C has entered the cellular pricing fray by enhancing its “Friends and Family” product to provide its customers with the lowest tariffs in the market.

Cell C’s enhanced offering follows Vodacom’s and MTN’s recent moves in which they extended their off-peak hours by three hours. Furthermore, MTN will, from November 1, cut pre-paid and contract tariffs by 0.9% and 2.4% respectively.

The product provides Cell C customers with discounts on seven frequently dialled landline or mobile numbers. The product offers an offpeak rate of 75 cents per minute and 1.50 rand per minute between 07h00 and 20h00.

By contrast, Vodacom’s minimum tariff is 1.49 rand per minute – the rate pre-paid subscribers pay for calls made after hours, while MTN charges its pay as you go users a minimum of 1.65 rand per minute for off network-bound calls.

In another development, Cell C spokesperson Jonathan Newman said talks between the local operator and Richard Branson’s Virgin Mobile of the UK were "progressing well", adding that an update on the pact should be expected sometime this month.

At the presentation of the company’s quarterly earnings results earlier this year, Cell CEO Talaat Laham said an announcement would be made last month.
The deal between the two parties would see Virgin branding the venture but using Cell C infrastructure. Virgin, which has international operations, does not own any base stations but is considered a mobile virtual network operator.

In South Africa, the UK group is expected to operate as an enhanced service provider.

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Cell C enters mobile pricing competition