Cell C has announced a lifeline package for prepaid customers and access to zero-rated content on various public-benefit websites.
This follows engagements with the Competition Commission over recommendations in its Data Market Inquiry Report that called for the provision of essential communication services to lower-income consumers.
“Cell C is pleased to announce that, following constructive discussions with the Competition Commission, the mobile operator’s voluntary offer to contribute to the Commission’s quest for greater digital participation and connection has been finalised,” the operator stated.
Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson said the company’s new offer is in line with Cell C’s commitment to digital inclusion, which was central to the objectives of the inquiry.
In reference to recent data price cuts from Vodacom and MTN as a result of recommendations from the Commission, Craigie Stevenson said the operators’ new prices aligned with what Cell C has been offering since 2018.
Starting 1 May 2020, Cell C will launch a free lifeline package at a bundle size to be determined. This will be accessible to Cell C’s prepaid customers.
The package will allow for direct messaging between Cell C customers via the Cell C App, in addition to the following:
- Delivery conversion to SMS (SMS delivery fall back) for customers who are not on the Cell C App.
- 5 free SMSs per customer per day (Cell C to Cell C).
- 7 free Call Me messages per day.
- Free basics (internet.org) access.
The data allocation can only be used for video streamed from YouTube, as Cell C said the platform does offer “some educational and health content”.
The Lifeline bundle will be accessible via Cell C’s USSD menu or the app.
MyBroadband asked Cell C for clarity on the size of the free data bundle, and the company said its lifeline data package would be based on customer activity over the previous seven days – with a minimum size of 250KB.
“The figure of 250KB is a minimum additional amount and needs to be viewed in the context of Cell C’s existing free offers and qualifying criteria, which will be based on the activity of customers in the prior seven days.”
“The lifeline package supplements what Cell C already offers in the way of Free Basics By Facebook and other value-add services,” Cell C told MyBroadband.
“Cell C already offers free access to a range of websites plus 20MB daily free usage on Free Basics by Facebook. ”
Cell C said it will implement Effective Rate (ER) notifications that will allow customers to compare the price per MB of data bundles.
“This enhances price transparency, particularly for products no shorter than 30-day bundles, hybrid and post-paid customers,” Cell C said.
“The platform will assist customers to view a single landing page/USSD number that directs them to promotional or personalised offers,” Cell C noted.
The operator said the effective rate will take a period of 6-9 months to implement.
Cell C will also provide zero-rated access to customers on websites of designated Public Benefit Organisations (PBO) on an affordable limit.
This includes national government and local government content:
- Eskom and local power utilities.
- Prasa and other transport services.