Vodacom ups ante with 50c/minute rate

The operator has effectively cut its prices again, introducing a new calling plan. But there are a number of catches.

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South Africa’s mobile price war appears to be intensifying, with Vodacom announcing on Friday that it would cut its effective prepaid rate, on a promotional basis, to 50c/minute for customers who buy its new “Chat for 20” product.

The new “promotional bundle” offers 20 voice minutes for R10 to call any network at any time of the day, meaning an effective tariff of just 50c/minute. There are, however, a number of catches, including the fact that calls are billed per minute rather than per second.

The new deal comes just a day after Vodacom revealed plans to cut its prepaid tariff to 79c/minute — matching rival MTN’s new rate.

Both the 79c plan and the Chat for 20 product are valid until 14 July only. MTN, whose 79c plan was introduced on a promotional basis, too, has now lodged it as a permanent tariff with communications regulator Icasa.

According to Vodacom, Chat for 20 is available to all prepaid, top-up and uChoose customers.

There are two rather large catches, though: a maximum of seven Chat for 20 bundles can be purchased during the week between 6am and 10pm, and can be used until midnight on the day of purchase only. Also, calls are calculated on a per-minute rather than a per-second basis, meaning the effective rate is higher than calls billed per second.

Once customers have used up their daily allocation of 20 voice minutes, they will begin paying again for voice calls at their current price plan rate. So, if a customer’s Chat for 20 bundle runs out while they are on a call, they will be billed at their applicable tariff for the non-promotional segment of the call.

Customers on Vodacom’s new 79c plan can’t take up the Chat for 20 deal. It is also not available for contract customers.  — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media

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