Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Cellphone penetration in South Africa is estimated at 98%, with 25.1 million South Africans over the age of 15 personally owning, renting or enjoying access to a cellphone.

As cellular service providers vie for the favour of what’s left of the country’s potential cellphone using public, competition is fierce and consumers are faced with overwhelming choices and often, “hard to resist” deals.

Consumers, in becoming more discerning about service and being so spoiled for choice, have also become more fickle. If they feel they can get a better deal somewhere else, they’ll jump ship when it comes time to upgrade or get another contract.

At the same time however, countless people are caught off guard by those dinnertime calls from telemarketers propositioning almost unbelievable deals.

“What makes a great deal is subjective. Not everyone can be bought with a voucher or add-on,” says Thomas Creamer, Telesure MD.

Creamer says consumers should always think carefully about how much they are going to use their cellphone and what they are going to be using it for before they settle on a provider and package.

While network operators typically assemble their contract packages quite differently, making it tough to compare apples with apples, usage time is the foundation of every cellular plan.

“Think carefully about how many minutes or seconds you'll need each month and pick a plan accordingly. Review your usage history and patterns over the past three months to get an idea of your average usage. Most of the major operators allow you to track your minute usage on their websites or on your phone.

“Don’t skimp on call minutes to cut your monthly premium because if you go over your minute allotment, you'll be burdened with expensive over-usage fees.

“Also consider the number of sms messages you send on a monthly basis, and the amount of data you use through accessing and downloading internet resources. If you don’t use your phone that much for voice calls but you spend a fair amount of time on the internet, you need to factor this in when choosing a contract and phone.

“Always conduct a comprehensive comparison of the offerings before you sign on the dotted line. It’s best to make sure up front that you’re completely satisfied with the deal you’ve been given,” advises Creamer.

He recommends that people in the market for a new contract use the cellular contract or handset comparison feature on www.hippo.co.za for an objective, no-frills comparison of what’s available to them.

“It’s an unintimidating, obligation-free way to assess your options,” concludes Creamer.


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