Flat-rated smartphone data bundles – more to come

 ·27 Mar 2012

The success of BlackBerry in South Africa is partly attributed to its affordable flat-rated data model, and many companies are trying to replicate this model for other mobile platforms to attract new subscribers.

MTN launched their smartphone data bundles in February, offering subscribers a variety of options – priced between R29 per month and R49 per month. However, these products were slated by consumers because of the 75MB fair-use limit and out-of-bundle rates which accompany these offerings.

MTN is rumoured to also be planning new, cheaper BlackBerry packages aimed at specific market segments (like social networking and mobile chat).

Nashua Mobile, in partnership with Nokia, launched their own smartphone data packages, but avoided the backlash which MTN endured, by offering true flat-rated data bundles without any out-of-bundle charges.

Nashua Mobile’s “Xtreme Data Service” (XDS) deal launched for certain Nokia devices on 7 March 2012, and offers contract users a flat-rated bundle at R59 per month. Speeds are throttled after certain fair-use limits are reached, but subscribers never run the risk of any out-of-bundle bills.

Nashua Mobile is currently researching usage patterns on other Nokia devices (including the Nokia Lumia 800), with the aim of launching more flat-rated offerings.

It is no secret that Vodacom is also planning a range of flat-rated smartphone data packages, but the details remain sketchy.

Virgin Mobile recently launched cheaper BlackBerry data packages. The company introduced 7-day and 14-day options, to complement the usual 30-day BlackBerry Internet Service plan – priced at R19 and R29 respectively.

Virgin Mobile is not looking at launching their own flat-rated smartphone data bundles (outside of BlackBerry packages) at this time, however.

8ta is tight-lipped on their plans in the smartphone market. “8ta is constantly reviewing data solutions that are aimed at enhancing the data experience for smartphone users; however, 8ta is not in a position to comment further on a planned strategy with regards to the Smartphone data market,” said Amith Maharaj, senior managing executive at Telkom Mobile.

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