Red Bull Mobile prices: How does it compare?

Cell C recently announced that they will be offering aggressively priced contract packages under the Red Bull Mobile brand from 25 February 2011.

These “RBM” packages are kept fairly straight forward, with users offered a choice between two contract options and each package allowing a choice between two devices.

Over and above a few Red Bull exclusive features, Cell C’s new RBM offerings include a good amount of anytime voice minutes, SMS and MMS messages, and data allowance.

Once these bundles included with the contract are used up, subscribers can expect to pay the following out-of-bundle (OOB) rates:

  1. Out-of-bundle national call per minute (peak and off peak): R1.50
  2. SMS/MMS per message: R0.50
  3. Out-of-bundle data per MB: R0.40
  4. International calls per minute: R1.50
  5. International SMS: R1.50

The Red Bull Mobile website provides the following caveats to the above tariffs:

  1. Premium rated and international calls are excluded from bundle. Billing increment: 60/60 (a.k.a. per minute billing, you are billed for the first 60 seconds and in increments of 60 seconds thereafter)
  2. Premium rated and international SMS are excluded from the bundle
  3. Data billing increment: 10KB
  4. The rate shown excludes the National landline charge levied on International Calls

RBM contract value proposition

The RBM 100 package includes 100 anytime minutes, 50 SMS or MMS messages, and 250 MB of data.

Below is a table that pits the RBM 100 contract against the closest comparable packages of competing mobile operators.

RBM MTN Vodacom 8ta
Phone Nokia 5230 Nokia 5230 Nokia E72 Nokia 5230
Minutes 100 ~86 (R200) 130 60*
SMS 50 25 + 50 (R25) 50 (R25) 50 (R25)
Data 250 300 (R149) 30 + 300 (R139) 25 + 250 (R100)
Contract Cost 149 149 315 230
Total Cost 149 323 479 355
* +230 on-net calls

Red Bull Mobile’s monthly cost comes in significantly cheaper than those of MTN, Vodacom and 8ta. Even considering the variables that couldn’t be matched up exactly, it could still be argued that RBM 100 is the better buy compared to similarly structured packages.

Similar to the RBM 100 package, RBM 200 comes with 200 minutes, 100 messages and 500 MB of data.

The table below compares the RBM 200 contract to its closest competitor packages of other mobile operators.

RBM MTN Vodacom 8ta
Phone Motorola MB525 Nokia E72 Nokia E72 Nokia N8
Minutes 200 ~179 (R350) 240 200*
SMS 100 25 + 100 (R35) 100 (R33) 100 (R50)
Data 500MB 500MB (R189) 600MB (R189) 50MB + 500MB (R150)
Contract Cost R249 R358 R430 R500
Total Cost R249 R582 R652 R700
* +500 on-net calls

Just as with the RBM 100 package, the RBM 200 package comes in at less than half the price of its nearest competitor.

It is worth mentioning that Red Bull Mobile offers a choice of two phones on its RBM 100 and RBM 200 packages whereas MTN, Vodacom and 8ta usually offer a larger variety at the same contract cost.

8ta also gives subscribers 50 free SMSes per day after the first 5 sent. Depending on usage, this may decrease the amount customers spend on texting.

MTN, Vodacom respond

While Vodacom recently launched BlackBerry Top Up contracts which seem priced to compete directly with Cell C’s RBM offering, Vodacom said that comparisons with other providers can be difficult.

“We run promotional offers on a regular basis,” Vodacom explained. “For example our Vodaworld outlet is currently offering a BlackBerry Curve 8520 and the BlackBerry Internet Service which would ordinarily cost R194 per month for only R99 on a 24 month contract.”

Vodacom also highlighted the offer they launched last year which gives customers under the age of 25 free monthly MMSes (15), SMSes (15) and 3MBs of data. Vodacom’s “Colour Our Youth” offer also gives under-25s access to music, social networking and gaming bundles.

“For example the social networking bundle comprising 100 SMS’s and up to 100MBs of free browsing on Facebook, Twitter, MXit and The Grid would cost only R29 per month,” Vodacom said.

MTN responded by saying that their best post-paid rates are currently offered on their MTN Zone TopUp packages.

“MTN Zone allows discounts of up to 100% for on-net calls and SMSs. It also offers up to 60% discount on calls and SMSs to other networks. These discounted rates apply to both the in-bundle and out of bundle usage,” MTN said.

8ta did not respond to questions about their pricing.

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Red Bull Mobile prices: How does it compare?