A few days ago South Africa’s fifth mobile operator 8ta announced that it would be offering a BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) package for around half its usual price. Today, the country’s third operator Cell C responded with two offers of its own.
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Like 8ta, it will offer the ‘BlackBerry Social & Email’ which gives you full access to online browsing, BlackBerry’s native messaging app BBM, BlackBerry mail, internet browser, social networking, and BlackBerry App World. The only real difference between it and the full BIS offering is that you get one web-based e-mail account from the likes of Gmail or Yahoo mail instead of 10. That offering will go for R37 a month.
Cell C is also however offering another, cheaper option aimed more directly at social, which offers access to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, including BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). It also includes one BlackBerry Email account (firstname.lastname@example.org), internet access, and downloads from BlackBerry App World.
BlackBerrys are incredibly popular among South Africa’s youth and were voted the “coolest brand” for the second year running in a recent national youth survey.
Lowering the price on BlackBerry’s internet offerings also makes it a more competitive option among low income groups. When you can get a basic BlackBerry for around the same price as a low-range Android device, the chance to avoid prohibitively high data costs is going to be a massive swing factor.