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Telkom's FreeMe packages dominate

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Tariffic says Telkom's FreeMe packages save users an average of 24% a month, compared to the next best option.
Tariffic says Telkom's FreeMe packages save users an average of 24% a month, compared to the next best option.

Telkom's new FreeMe packages offer the best value for consumers, according to cellphone spend optimisation company Tariffic.

Tariffic used its Web-based contract optimisation tool to crunch the numbers for three user-profiles and find out exactly how competitive Telkom's new packages are compared to offerings from rival operators.

"The FreeMe packages are dominating the market, saving these users an average of 24% a month compared to the next best option," according to Tariffic CEO Antony Seeff.

Last month, Telkom shook up the mobile market by completely overhauling its product offering and launching the FreeMe data-centric plans. The new plans are based on data bundles and offer no voice minutes ? rather opting to zero-rate calls and messages over instant message (IM) services WhatsApp, Viber and BlackBerry BBM ? and also offer free calls to Telkom mobile and Telkom fixed-line numbers and free access at 6 000 WiFi hotspots across SA.

Telkom consumer CEO Attila Vitai said at the launch that Telkom believes the new deals "will change the mobile telecommunication game in SA", by prioritising data.

By analysing the cellular behaviour of three specific user-profiles, Tariffic was able to calculate the cheapest SIM-only contract for each type of cellphone user, across all major mobile network operators in South Africa.

"The results of this analysis are very positive for Telkom, and show Telkom's FreeMe packages are the top recommended and cheapest package for all analysed," Tariffic said in a statement.

When asked for reaction to Telkom's new deals, most rival operators remained silent, although MTN says it welcomes Telkom's new deals.

"At MTN, we believe competition is the critical driver of performance and the adoption of innovation. It also provides us with insight. MTN welcomes the propositions unveiled by the competitor," MTN SA chief consumer officer Larry Annetts told ITWeb.

Annetts says MTN has comparable options on its network under its My MTNChoice Data SIM Only deals.

Tariffic's results showed FreeMe is competing directly with MTN's My MTNChoice+ packages, Cell C's ChatMore and Pinnacle packages, and Vodacom's SmartMore Data deals.

The comparison showed that in all three examples, Cell C and MTN offered the next best deals, at similar price points, followed by Vodacom ? whose SmartMore packages were consistently significantly more expensive than the others. The calculations, however, did not take into account the free instant messaging or free WiFi offers Telkom's customers will receive on FreeMe.

Seeff, however, cautions that South African consumers should not follow his recommendations blindly.

"You are not user A, B, or C - you are unique and you use your cellphone in a unique way, and that's why you should find the right packages for you," he says.

The best cellphone packages for three types of cellular users.
The best cellphone packages for three types of cellular users.
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