Free data from FNB Connect during lockdown

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Jacques Celliers, FNB CEO.
Jacques Celliers, FNB CEO.

FNB Connect is offering 1GB free data to customers during the nationwide lockdown, as SA looks to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).

This morning, the big four bank announced measures it is taking in the fight against COVID-19, with reported cases now sitting at over 1 200 and two deaths in SA.

FNB Connect, a mobile virtual network that piggybacks on Cell C, made its announcement after local operators announced several initiatives to keep South Africans connected during the lockdown.

For example, MTN announced that concerned family members and friends can stay in touch through a free 20MB Ayoba Data Lifeline that can be accessed via the Ayoba app.

Vodacom says its ConnectU provides free access to job portals, free access to Facebook Flex, access to two free SMSes per day to customers, and further discounted bundle offers to prepaid customers in areas where the majority of people live beneath the food poverty line.

FNB Connect launched as an MVNO in June 2015, making FNB the first bank in the country to establish a mobile offering.

Standard Bank officially launched its own MVNO, called SB Mobile, in November 2018.

“In April, individual and business customers on FNB Connect will receive 1GB of free data to help them stay connected during the lockdown,” says Jacques Celliers, FNB CEO.

“We are also working with industry partners to ensure customers can use any bank’s ATMs without paying additional fees over and above the fees charged by their bank.”

Celliers recently told ITWeb that FNB is awaiting stability at financially-constrained mobile operator Cell C before it can fully scale its FNB Connect mobile network.

In a statement this morning, FNB says it will also waive Speedpoint device rentals and not charge a minimum fee for some merchants that are in good standing but operate in distressed industries.

“We have been working tirelessly to reconfigure operations where necessary to operate efficiently and to help customers, especially those whose financial position has been impacted by COVID-19,” says Celliers.

“Our aim is to ensure all our customers can continue keeping their financial affairs in order through this difficult time and we believe our ability to service customers through multiple market-leading digital channels has provided relative comfort to customers to continue managing their day-to-day banking, investing, credit and insurance needs.

“As we escalate our efforts to help customers, we are pleased to announce that from 1 April to 30 June 2020, we will implement measures to provide relief to individual and business customers whose financial stability has been impacted by COVID-19. Our interventions will assist customers who demonstrate sound banking behaviour, such as having honoured their repayments to the bank on a consistent basis prior to COVID-19.”

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