Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Telkom Mobile and Vodacom Receive the Highest Tarifica Scores Among South Africa’s Mobile Operators

 Tarifica Scores for all postpaid mobile plans in South Africa are out. The Tarifica Score is an advanced algorithm used to evaluate mobile plans based on the value they offer consumers. Overall, the top two plans were Vodacom’s Smart S (with the +1GB data promotion) and Telkom Mobile’s Completely Unlimited plan, (with-phone version). In the analysis, plans were divided into five segments corresponding to their monthly costs, as follows: under R100, R101-R300, R301-R500, R501-R1000 and more than R1000. Each segment was further split into “With Phone” and “Without Phone” categories – creating 10 segments in all.

“Telkom Mobile’s plans stood well above those from other operators. It offered the best plan in four of the 10 market segments, and had competitive plans in several others. This success was largely driven by the company’s relatively low prices and generous data allowances,” stated Melissa Mascarenhas, Research Analyst at Tarifica.

As for other operators, while Vodacom was able to land one of the top overall spots with its +1GB promotion for the Smart S plan, it was only able to capture one other market segment (under R100 per month without phone). Comparatively, Cell C scored quite well in the mid-priced plans, winning three of the four segments between R301 and R1000, while MTN and Virgin Mobile struggled in most categories. But the latter was at least able to win the honors for best plan that included a phone for under R100 per month.

Tarifica Scores were calculated for every postpaid plan across all the major players in the South African mobile market. These scores provide objective, quantitative comparisons of mobile plans based on a consumer value-oriented approach. The Tarifica Score takes into account factors such as plan allowances (minutes, SMS, MMS and data), network speeds and value added elements, including data sharing, international calling allowances and roaming benefits. It is designed to produce clear apples-to-apples comparisons even in cases where plans appear quite different on their surface, thereby helping consumers understand which plans offer the best value for the money.
Compared to its competitors, MTN’s plans simply did not measure up. Not only did the company fail to win a single market segment, but the majority of its plans were ranked near the bottom of their respective groups. This poor performance was driven by a combination of relatively slow data speeds, high costs, limited features and low allotments. “In analyzing the market, we were surprised that so many plans from the largest operator provided such low value to consumers. We predict that as growing numbers of South Africans adopt more data-heavy usage habits, as is expected in the near future, MTN will either be forced to radically rework its plans or experience significant customer loss,” said Kenneth Dolsky, Tarifica Senior Program Director.

In today’s mobile marketplace, consumers are forced to weigh many factors against cost when purchasing a plan, including allowances for minutes, text messages and data, and the speed and coverage of the operator’s network. Operators are also constantly introducing new offers, special features and promotions that serve to further complicate the decision-making process. The Tarifica Score enables consumers to cut through the clutter and identify those plans in every market segment that offer the best value for the money.
Tarifica Scores were calculated for all the published plans offered by Cell C, MTN, Telkom Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Vodacom. Plan scores are available upon request.

Tarifica, a unit of T3i Group, has been the leading provider of telecom pricing information for close to four 
decades. It maintains the most robust, in-depth and up-to-date pricing database in the industry, which 
includes mobile and fixed line rates from over 400 operators in 85 countries, as well as historical data 
going back to 1997. Tarifica also produces reports, surveys, publications and custom analyses. Its clients 
include operators, regulators, enterprises and consultants in every region of the globe. For more 
information, please visit 

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