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Is FNB Connect the cheapest?

By Staff Writer
Move over Vodacom and MTN, there’s a new kid on the block. First National Bank (FNB) announced that it has become the first bank in South Africa to offer its own SIM cards to its customers. The offering, called FNB Connect, will be available from 15 June 2015.

SIM cards will be sold separately from devices and customers will be able to choose from a range of mobile voice and data products.

FNB Connect has a host of SMS and data bundles available, as well as prepaid airtime options. But, is FNB Connect the cheapest?

Data rates comparison

In order to compare the costs of the data prices across the networks, Justmoney has compared the costs of 500MB packages.

500MB Packages Vodacom MTN Telkom Mobile Cell C FNB Connect
Price R99 R105 R69 R85 R95
In bundles rates R0.20 R0.20 R0.14 R0.17 N/A
Out of bundles rates R2 R0.99 N/A R0.99 R1
Source: Vodacom, MTN, Telkom Mobile, Cell C, and FNB Connect. Correct as of 5 June 2015.

From the comparison, Telkom Mobile seems to be the cheapest when it comes to a 500MB bundle.

Calls comparison

When it comes to calls, each network has a host of prepaid options, some with per second billing, and some with per minute. Factoring in that the networks also have promotions for cheaper calls on weekends, and after certain times it makes comparing ‘apples with apples’ difficult.

For the Daily Free Calls and the Anytime per Minute prepaid options on Vodacom, are charged at R1.20 per minute for calls.

The MTN Talk Free option charges you R1.20 for the first three minutes billed per second, then it’s free for 57 minutes.
MTN Pay per Second costs R0.79 per minute.

Meanwhile, FNB Connect’s peak call rates are R0.89 per minute. Helpfully, FNB also has a calculator on their site which calculates how much you would pay for a call when calling from FNB Connect to another network.

Digital solutions

The FNB Connect SIM card will be integrated with digital platforms such as FNB’s Online Banking. This will allow customers the benefit of a single login to simultaneously manage their financial and mobile accounts.

FNB also highlighted that customers will have the option to easily port their existing cellphone number through FNB’s electronic banking channels.

Auto-recharge option

FNB said that it will be the first to market with a prepaid Auto Top-Up recharge feature where customers will be topped up automatically when their airtime balance drops below R5. Customers have the option to set their own top up amount on this auto recharge feature.  

In line with the bank’s strategy to encourage customers to use digital banking rather than branches; ordering and activation of SIMs occurs on digital platforms. 
Other self-service options include SIM Swap, Block your SIM and activation of international roaming calls through Online Banking.

“The banking landscape has evolved tremendously and with the help of technology we are able to better enrich the customer experience.  We believe that this valuable service will assist customers with the opportunity to do their banking and mobile services from one platform. This is yet another innovation aimed at offering our customers the benefit of integrated and seamless mobile services which interoperates across existing platforms,” said Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO of FNB Connect.
 

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