Shoprite to launch its own virtual mobile network

The Shoprite Group – which operates Africa’s largest network of food stores – plans to launch its own mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) to offer cellular services.

This was reportedly revealed by the grocery giant’s CEO Pieter Engelbrecht on Tuesday, during the announcement of the group’s results for the six months ended December 2020.

“Very soon we will launch our own virtual network to enhance our customer data even further,” Engelbrecht said.

According to Engelbrecht, the group aimed to leverage its petabytes of customer data in this venture.

He did not provide details around a planned launch date or which network Shoprite would use for its virtual network, however.

Shoprite told BusinessTech that it would provide further details on the launch early next week.

Taking on Pick n Pay

The announcement comes after Shoprite competitor Pick n Pay launched its PnP Mobile MVNO operating on MTN’s network in November 2020.

PnP Mobile is the first MVNO to use MTN’s newly-launched MVNO service, and it will give customers access to prepaid SIM-based services such as airtime, data, and SMS.

PnP Mobile allows Smart Shopper customers to earn tiered rewards that offer users between 250MB and 2.5GB depending on their tier.

The retailer provided an example where if a customer tops up their PnP Mobile SIM card with R100, and spends R1,000 on groceries, they will earn an additional 500MB in data rewards.

These data rewards are automatically loaded onto the user’s SIM card once after each shop, and do not replace traditional Smart Shopper points.

South Africa has several other significant MVNOs, the majority of which run on Cell C’s network. These include FNB Connect, Standard Bank Mobile, Mr P Mobile, and me&you Mobile.

Now read: Big surge in FNB Connect customers

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Shoprite to launch its own virtual mobile network