THE cost of telecommunications in South Africa is once again in the spotlight after Cell C launched a R175-million marketing campaign yesterday challenging consumers to ask their networks the real cost of making calls.
The latest move by the country's third largest mobile network operator is bound to rile its rivals. Competition among South African operators is so fierce that in the past six months some have slashed the cost of calls between networks by more than 30%.
The arrival of cheap calls will be the latest chapter in the evolving story of mobile technology in South Africa‚ which now has 60 million active cellphones‚ according to Cell C.
The operator's campaign follows the introduction of its Supacharge product‚ which offers 1000 free SMSs‚ talk time and 1GB of data to prepaid and top-up customers when they recharge with R500 or more.
Cell C's chief commercial officer‚ Jose dos Santos, said the goal of the campaign was to educate consumers about what they actually paid on their networks. The operator has issued a challenge to consumers‚ indirectly calling out other networks on their prices. It expects to invest R175-million in the campaign over the next few months.
The pricing war was triggered by Telkom-owned 8ta in 2011 when it introduced South Africa's lowest fixed-line rates along with flat-rate international calls to more than 100 countries.