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Strategy Works: MTN Legal Action Against Icasa Has Major Ramifications

Published by on Feb 15th, 2014, No Comments

MTN-LogoMTN’s decision to take legal action against Icasa, and by extension the government, over the recently announced mobile termination rates (MTR) is a game changing step that could have ramifications for years to come, according to Steven Ambrose, Strategy Works CEO.

Vodacom and MTN both publicly voiced their displeasure at the new termination rates announced by ICASA on 29 January. The main bone of contention was the significant and unprecedented asymmetry** awarded to smaller operators.

Icasa initially proposed an asymmetry rate of 40 cents in 2013 and then announced a final rate of 44 cents.

“The result of this would be a net cash flow effect of R1 billion in the initial year of the new termination regime from the larger networks to the smaller ones. This is amount that was too significant for the larger networks to ignore,” he says. (more…)

Get it together Cell C

Published by on May 29th, 2013, 12 Comments

scumbag-cell-c

(Not a picture of the author)

I recently moved house, and upon moving in I realized that Vodacom has almost no signal in my area. So, after having a Vodacom contract for more than a decade, it was time to move to another network. So I jumped at the chance to finally move to Cell C. On Saturday I went to the Cell C store in Tygervalley center to get a Nano SIM for my phone, which I would need before I port. The sales lady informs me that a Cell C Starter Pack with a Nano SIM will cost me R150. Upon enquiring why, she tells me it is a “very expensive” SIM card to manufacture (which I happen to know is BS).

I then walked over to Game (just a few stores away), and bought the very same Nano SIM Card Starter Pack for the royal sum of R1 and the Game employee tells me that she is well aware of the “skelms” at the Cell C store. So I buy it, and walk back to Cell C to ask the store manager if they are aware of this. She tells me yes, but they cannot do anything about it. Apparently other stores (like Game) buy their SIM cards from “Cell C Direct”, and the Cell C franchise stores get their SIM cards from Cell C.

First off, I know my issue is all about the (some might argue) measly sum of R149, but it is things like this that affect your brand’s reputation. Right now Cell C is punting itself as the most innovative network with their customer’s interests at heart. I must agree, their current offerings like Supacharge prepaid make it very hard to ignore, and I believe their smartphone deal packages are much better structured than any other network.

But here is the thing. (more…)

Cell C slashes Data Costs

Published by on Apr 9th, 2013, 9 Comments

Last week we reported that Cell C’s CEO was planning more price cuts, but did not want to let his competitors know when he will “deal a uppercut” to them. Cell C has just announced their latest promotional data rates for people who want to get data only contracts, and once again they have significantly undercut their competitors.

Vodacom has recently matched their pricing for certain packages, so its good to see how quickly Cell C reacts to the competition. Many users were also worried that the Giga packages would soon be phased out, but luckily it is still in place for late night surfers (or downloaders…). The new Giga pricing drops from R249 to R189 per month, and still offers some of the best value for money in SA right now.

The Out of Bundle rate remains unchanged.

These latest prices will run from today until 30 June: (more…)

Allan Knott-Craig comments on Lower Prices

Published by on Apr 3rd, 2013, No Comments

Uppercut

In a quick MyBroadband blurb, the current Cell C CEO (and former Vodacom CEO) Alan Knott-Craig used some of his legendary wit to call out other mobile operators.

Cell C has in recent times always lead the pack when it came to data and voice pricing, with the dominant players like Vodacom and MTN having a tough time competing on price. Only Telkom Mobile (or 8ta) has a few offerings that can compete with Cell C.

But in the last week Vodacom, MTN and Telkom Mobile released new data offerings, which in many cases match the pricing of Cell C. According to Knott-Craig, Cell C will continue to use price as the main weapon to beat its competitors. He did not however divulge when we can expect further price cuts from Cell C, using a very apt description:

“I do not know of any boxer that tells his opponent when he plans to hit him with an uppercut.”

 

Source: MyBroadband

Porting from MTN to Cell C: A Review

Published by on Jan 17th, 2013, 38 Comments

I’ve been a loyal MTN customer for around the last twelve years. I started on prepaid with a Nokia 5110 as a teenager and then graduated to multiple contracts of ever increasing values and costs as I started using my cellphone for work and contacting girls. In recent years MTN has gone to the dogs: I had an iPhone 4 with them and almost never saw 3G signal instead being left on EDGE for mobile connectivity. Since data has become more important to me than how many SMS messages I get the lack of speed left me wanting. Add to the fact tons of dropped calls and plenty of dead spots in Johannesburg I was ready to move.

Ever since Allan Knott-Craig Snr joined Cell C they’ve changed their offerings to be highly competitive although I’d heard horror stories about the quality of the network. As mentioned earlier, my priority was data and I’ve had pretty good quality data on my Cell C data stick at home. Another issue is price, the iPhone 5 is currently R399 for 200 minutes, 200 sms’s and 500mb of data. Compared to MTN and Vodacom, this is at least R150-R200 cheaper. Enough about price though, this is an issue of network quality.

I phoned Cell C direct, got asked a million questions about my income and 7 days later an iPhone 5 was delivered to my door. I must commend the call center staff for being knowledgable and really friendly, more than I can say for my previous networks call center. While there was some issue with porting from MTN to Cell C (the sales agent forgot to initiate the porting process which is human error and could happen anywhere) but otherwise they communicated with me perfectly throughout the process.

As a whole I get a consistent 3G connection on my iPhone 5 (there is no LTE yet but this is true for any of the networks) and it’s actually rare for me to see an EDGE connection. There are spots where the quality is terrible, specifically in the Hyde Park area of Johannesburg (I get bumped to Vodacom here) but otherwise it’s perfect.

Cell C is great, don’t believe the negative press.

Mobile Broadband a Massive Revenue Opportunity in SA – Study

Published by on Nov 9th, 2012, 1 Comment

Mobile broadband is the biggest single revenue opportunity in Africa in the immediate and longer term, according to the results of a recent Industry Outlook survey commissioned by Informa Telecoms & Media. This resonates with Informa’s forecasts that suggest that annual mobile data revenues in Africa will reach US$18.5 billion by 2016 accounting for 22% of the region’s total mobile service revenues as compared with 12% in 2011.

Informa Telecoms & Media commissioned the survey for AfricaCom 2012 and will publish the results in its “Africa Telecoms Outlook 2013: Seizing new revenue opportunities” report at the event in Cape Town between 13 – 15 November.

Mobile data growth will power a number of revenue opportunities. The business case for 4G technology will emerge, according to 70% of the survey’s respondents, as the growth of mobile data services continues to accelerate. Giving mobility to broadband services will empower enterprises and especially SMEs to benefit from more mobile working thereby generating greater business agility.

Yet there remains a large constraint on the ideal of connecting Africa. Even the cheapest mobile phone is still not affordable for many there. There is a powerful message from Informa’s survey: seven out of 10 respondents agreed that operators must use their buying power and distribution networks to make more devices available and device manufacturers need to make more affordable devices.

A central message from the survey is the need for mobile network operators (MNOs) to take notice of the changing demands and characteristics of its customers. Nick Jotischky, principal analyst for emerging market analysis at Informa Telecoms & Media comments, “There is more depth to a mobile operator’s customer base in Africa than two or three years ago and, for this reason, MNOs need to gain a greater insight into their customers’ behavior and offer them services that match their individual needs and preferences. Using this insight to design new business models that combine an MNO’s traditional capabilities (mobility, location) with Internet-style services (search, mapping) will enable a more compelling and personalized set of services to a wider variety of customer segments”.

Jotischky will chair a session at AfricaCom on November 13 discussing Africa’s evolving telecoms market with a number of Informa analysts and copies of the report will be made available there.

Infographic: The Cost of Mobile Broadband in SA

Published by on Nov 7th, 2012, 2 Comments

Lilian van Zyl from Moneysmart made this great infographic showing the current cost differences in SA when it comes to mobile broadband. South Africa’s current explosion of mobile phone use have led to massive increases in the amount of data we use. In fact, we are pretty sure that for some some users, the data bundle attached to a contract is of greater concern than the talk time.

Moneysmart‘s infographic focusses on prepaid data rates, and show some very clear differences in price. The current smaller cellular operators are obviously heading for price war in the data sector, which we feel is a lot more relevant than the recent international call decreases. But enough with the chat, see the infographic below:

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Cell C lower international call rate now available to 227 countries

Published by on Aug 31st, 2012, No Comments

Cell C customers will benefit from significantly reduced call rates to more than 227 countries from 1 September.

Following the launch of its 99c per minute call rate to 50 countries in recent months, Cell C has now reduced the call rates to an additional 177 countries.

“We have spent a great deal of time negotiating better termination rates with our international partners.  The termination rates, or rates charged by other operators to carry calls on their networks, remain the highest input cost both locally and abroad, when determining call rates,” says Alan Knott-Craig, Cell C CEO.

He says the savings negotiated will be passed on to consumers through reduced international call tariffs.  In addition to the reduced tariffs, Cell C has also simplified its price plan to ensure more transparency when making calls abroad.

Countries have been grouped into five different zones according to the new call rates and will be available to prepaid, hybrid and postpaid customers as default rates from 1 September.  Calls will be billed on a per second basis and the new rates will be applicable to fixed line and mobile numbers in the respective countries.

Zone 1 includes 50 countries at a call rate of 99c per minute. Calling destinations in Zone 1 include Angola, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, the UK and USA.

(more…)

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