It pays to be prepaid

Cindy Steenkamp 230x300 It pays to be prepaid

Cindy Steenkamp

A business owner claims she has saved up to 50% on cellphone calls since the introduction of the new mobile termination rate by the Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) in April.

Cindy Steenkamp – the executive director of Macsafety Africa, a company that supplies safety equipment, protective clothing and services to the marine, mining and oil and gas industries among others – is a Vodacom prepaid customer.

Steenkamp, whose business started operations in June last year, says depending on the network she dials, the day of the week or the time of the day, her calls are discounted by as little as 10%.

She says this could also sometimes be by as much as 50%.

Steenkamp says that this reduction in her cellphone bill is a lifesaver.

This is because she spends a lot of time on the phone consulting with clients, negotiating and co-coordinating sales.

This is contrary to forecasts by telecommunication analysts who say that business owners are unlikely to benefit immediately from the reduction in termination rates.

Before the introduction of the new termination rates Steenkamp had to keep her calls as short as possible so as to avoid running up costs.

Now, with a reduced phone bill, she is able to spend more quality time communicating with customers. This increases her chances of closing more sales deals and also generating new deals for her business.

She says she also stresses a lot less about the costs of calls since her call rates have reduced.

Steenkamp says she now uses the savings on her phone bill to buy more airtime and says she will continue to do so with future savings.

To reduce phone costs Steenkamp has also learned to conduct business via other communication tools such as email and social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Skype.

Julia Modise is the owner of VJ Green Solutions, a company trading in the renewable energy sector.

She says, as yet, she has not experienced any savings on her monthly cellphone bill.

She has a contract with Vodacom for which she pays over R600 a month.

“If anything I pay more as I often have to top up my airtime.

This leads to my mobile bill sometimes ballooning to more than R2 000 a month,” says Modise.

She says she now prefers to use her landline to make calls,.

However, this is not always possible since she spends a lot of time out of the office.

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  • Carl Roodnick

    Thanks Cindy! It would be wonderful if ICASA or another independent communications entity could investigate the comparative costs across the various airtime providers’ packages to allow new start-ups and small business entrepreneurs to determine the best fit solution for their respective businesses.

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