The battle between the cellular giants in South Africa continues. This past weekend, Vodacom launched YEBO4LESS which seems to rival MTN’s Zone offering but as with an competition, Vodacom have gone a step further than MTN. What YEBO4LESS and MTN Zone virtually do is; callers get discounted call rates depending on where they are making their call from with regards to the amount of ‘traffic’ in use on the network based on their location. So lets say I am in an area with very little network traffic, my phone call will cost a lot cheaper than if I were in an area such as the CBD where there is a lot of ‘traffic’ on the network.
MTN were the first to introduce this offer a couple of months ago and it has been highly successful for them with quite a number of subscribers opting for this offer. But when MTN launched this offering, the discount was only for MTN to MTN calls. Now Vodacom has come to the party and introduced a similar offering to MTN but now Vodacom have gone a step further and have also introduced a discount offering not only for Vodacom to Vodacom calls but also to calls from Vodacom to other networks in South Africa.
From the face of it, it looks like Vodacom’s offering is much better than what MTN were offering. It would not surprise me if MTN decide to also offer discounted calls from MTN to other networks in order for them to compete with Vodacom.
The cellular industry in South Africa is very competitive with the two giants, Vodacom and MTN aggressively competing against each other for subscribers. Cell C is not as a big force as these two, which is understandable considering the resources the big two have. Cell C came in with an offering about a year ago where they introduced the ‘talk for free’ offering where Cell C subscribers can call each other for free over the weekends. There was a lot of buzz about this at the time with many thinking that Vodacom and MTN would introduce something similar to their subscribers but that never happened. One then has to ask the question, “Why didn’t the big two introduce something similar to Cell C’s talk for free on weekends?” The most logical answer would be that such an offering was potentially loss leading and the big two saw no value of such an offering whereas Cell C are so desperate to increase their subscriber base that they may have been forced to offer a loss generating campaign in order to try increase subscribers.
For now we just have to wait and see what the introduction of Vodacom’s YEBO4LESS will do to the market. I am sure it will be well received as it is only available to prepaid customers and they are the ones who make up the bulk of Vodacom subscribers. In the current economic climate we are in in South Africa today, any form of savings and a discount will be greatly welcome by the consumer.