Clientèle joins mobile market

Insurer to after data and airtime services

Financial services group Clientèle has announced its foray into the highly contested airtime and data market with he launch of its own telecoms service, Clientèle Mobile, running on the Cell C network.

The company’s mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) will offer data and airtime at discounted rates for Clientele Rewards members through the Clientèle app.

Basil Reekie, group MD of Clientèle, said Clientèle Mobile will offer a range of data packages from 50MB to 5GB.

“South Africa’s smartphone penetration has nearly doubled over the last two years and is now sitting at over 80%, which means more people are looking for better data deals. This is an exceptionally exciting shift for us as a business and we believe that it will lead to great results.”

MVNO’s are gaining momentum in South Africa, with banks, retail stores and independent brands launching their own mobile services.

In 2015, FNB became the first bank in South Africa to launch an MVNO through a partnership with Cell C.

South Africa’s MVNO market includes FNB Connect , Virgin Mobile, Pick n Pay, Mr Price Mobile, Standard Bank Mobile and others. Most of these run on the Cell C network.

The Competition Commission, which aims to lower data prices and stimulate competition, this week said MVNOs have struggled to grow in South Africa because of unfair pricing for network access from large network operators, among a host of factors.

“They [MVNOs] have limited viable options other than Cell C, and the Cell C network is not the lowest cost network in any event,” the commission said.

“As a result, MVNOs are simply not a material feature of the South African market and have remained niche operations designed to provide benefits to support the retention of other customer bases.”

By Kabelo Khumalo

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