Cell C plays its contract hand
The company introduces 99c/minute billing for post-paid customers and gives them flexibility in the length of their contracts.
Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig has made his next big move after dropping a pricing bomb on his rivals in the prepaid market. The cellular operator is introducing variable-term contracts and slashing the cost of calls for post-paid subscribers.
The company is introducing six new products, called “Straight Up”, for post-paid and hybrid customers, on 22 June.
One of the packages, called Straight Up 100, costs R100/month and offers 100 minutes of airtime, 100 SMSes or MMSes and 100MB of data. No peak and off-peak rates apply.
Customers will pay 99c/minute, with per-second billing, at any time of the day in any of the new bundles, says Knott-Craig, a former Vodacom Group CEO who took the reins at Cell C on 1 April. The minutes exclude international calls, although calls to the UK, US, China, India and Pakistan also cost 99c/minute with per-second billing.
New international rates to all countries will be announced in the next few weeks, Cell C says.
In perhaps a more significant move, Cell C says its subscribers can now choose the duration of their contracts, meaning no 24-month lock-in — a popular practice in the mobile industry.
If subscribers require a cellphone, its price is calculated depending on the length of the contract period chosen. Handsets are available on six-, 12-, 18- and 24-month contracts. “Add the cellphone monthly price to the contract monthly subscription, and you have your total monthly subscription,” Cell C says in a statement.
Out-of-bundle rates are the same as in-bundle tariffs — 50c/SMS, 50c/MMS, 99c/MB of data and 99c/minute for voice. If not used, the voice minutes, messaging and data will automatically roll over and remain valid for 90 days, the company says.
“If customers want to use their existing handset they can choose the Sim-only option,” says Knott-Craig. “If a customer wants a top-of-the-range smartphone but only requires a small bundle of voice minutes that is also okay. With our new packages you can mix and match as you please.”
Taunting his bigger rivals, Knott-Craig says: “We have still not finished giving consumers what they want. [It’s] not perfect yet I know, but a helluva lot better in terms of simplicity, choice and price than they can get today anywhere. Once government and [the Independent Communications Authority of SA] start actively pumping for a more competitive market, we will make it even better for the consumer. We are still a relatively small player, and we can’t do this alone.” — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media