I wrote a post about changing from Standard Bank to Capitec, and I wrote a post about changing insurance companies too. Surprisingly they are some of the most popular posts on my blog, so I thought I should tell you about changing cell phone providers too.
I am changing cell providers for 2 reasons, one is to save money and the other is the principle. It amazes me that these big companies continue to rip us off year after year. I want to support companies that are shaking things up. So there are definitely some limitations to banking with Capitec, but I’m happy to deal with them because I want to support their efforts to bring down banking fees in South Africa. The same with Cell C, people keep telling me I will have issues with coverage, etc. I don’t care, I will deal with that because I want to support what they are doing.
I have been a contract customer with MTN for 20 years, that means I have given them in the vicinity of R100 000 of my hard earned money. But now I’m tired of being ripped off. What does Cell C offer that is so much better? There are 2 major things, pricing and simplicity.
I was on an Anytime 350 contract with MTN, which with my data and other miscellaneous charges, cost me R500 (the phone charge was on top of that). For that, they gave me R350 worth of ‘airtime’ to use as I please. I used it all on calls, costing R1.95 per minute off peak, and R2.35 per minute on peak. If I assume 50% was on peak, I get roughly 165 minutes of talk time. I was also being charged R99 for 500mb of data. The package included some free sms’, which I think is largely irrelevant these days.
Please note that they have improved this package (although not substantially), but because I was already a subscriber, my package was not upgraded. Here’s a tip MTN: Spend less time worrying about ‘loyalty points’ and actually treat your loyal customers with some respect, that’s how you engender loyalty.
So, I’ve switched to Cell C prepaid. I pay 99c per minute no matter the time of day or destination of call. I can even call overseas at 99c! How simple and easy is that to understand? I can also get 3gigs of data for R300, which is valid for a year so I don’t have to worry about losing it at the end of the month. So my calls are less than half what I was paying MTN, and the data is half.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! If I recharge for R300, not only do I get 300 minutes worth of airtime. I ALSO GET 900mb of free data, 900 free texts (Cell C to Cell C) and 900 mins free calls (Cell C to Cell C). You can read more about the Supacharge deal here.
It irritates me that there are different call rates for various things. Cell C led the way with simple pricing, 99c to any number, anytime. The other networks are slowly simplifying their rates, but they are still way behind. The average person doesn’t have the time or energy to analyse their call habits and optimise their contract. The cell networks are banking on you being inefficient in your calling habits.
So my 2 year contract with MTN came up for renewal and I gave notice. They wanted about R650 per month to renew with a phone. I instead bought a Google Nexus 4 online which cost me R3000. If I divide that over 24 months it’s R125. Assuming the same amount of airtime (165) minutes, my total bill will be R390 per month on Cell C. This doesn’t include the benefit I will get from Supacharging.
I think it’s fair to say my bill will be halved at least. I’m prepared to deal with any coverage issues I might have. Cell C deserves our support.
The moving process was simple. I notified MTN that I wanted my sim changed from contract to prepaid once the contract was up. I received an SMS notification when that happened. Then I went into Cell C and they ported the number for me. The Cell C sim cost me R10. That evening I received an SMS from MTN saying my number had been ported. I put in my Cell C sim card and recharged with the voucher I bought earlier. That was it. No hassles, and very fast.