Telkom SA’s mobile division announced that SIM-SONKE subscribers will now be able to make calls from anywhere in the country. Previously customers were able to make calls only where Telkom Mobile has network coverage.
“We introduced SIM-SONKE as a community based product that dramatically lowered the rate for people who make frequent calls primarily to others who live in close proximity. By offering the product on the Telkom Mobile network only, we could reduce costs and pass the savings on to customers,” says Kagiso Moncho, Telkom Mobile Executive for Commercial Product Development.
Telkom Mobile’s all IP 3G network is currently concentrated in urban areas that cover over 60 percent of the country’s population. A roaming agreement with one of the country’s other mobile operators enables the Telkom Mobile to provide products and services nationwide as the entity continues the rollout of its own network.
“People everywhere want to benefit from the lowest standard call rates in the country when calling friends and relatives nationwide,” continues Moncho. We had to make it possible for these friends and relatives to also subscribe to SIM-SONKE. By making SIM-SONKE available on our network and our roaming partner’s we can now offer the product nationally.”
This change also means that during the festive season when many people are traveling around the country, subscribers can use SIM-SONKE wherever they go.
The change was motivated in part by the regulator’s decision to reduce interconnect fees. “The move by the regulator helped make it possible to offer SIM-SONKE nationwide. By lowering the price barrier to entry and now making it available nationwide, we hope to see more people benefitting from the connectivity that mobile technology provides.”
The product continues to be about community. At launch the marketing was exclusively through community based media. Over time other media platforms have been included, but community radio and wall murals in particular continue to be key advertising platforms.
“In future the wall murals will do double duty,” says Moncho. “We are in the process of rolling out an airtime distribution network through which the owners of properties where we have wall murals also sell SIM-SONKE starter packs and airtime. Not only will this initiative provide additional income for community members, it means our customers will have more places in their communities to buy the product and top up with airtime.”
Telkom Mobile airtime is available via a number of different channels including online, ATMs and in stores. The airtime is also interchangeable with 8ta branded airtime.
“SIM-SONKE has revolutionized the prepaid market and continues to do so. We have made standard product benefits that are typically offered as promotions, such as free SMSs and free calls to other SIM-SONKE subscribers from 21h00 to 06h00 when topping up. We look forward to adding more game changers over the coming weeks,” concludes Moncho.