South African mobile operator MTN is launching three new low-tier packages aimed at making the BlackBerry service even more affordable. The news comes hot on the heels of RIM’s latest earnings call, during which the BlackBerry smartphone maker singled out South Africa as being one of its strongest and growing markets.
For about a quarter of the regular price, the BlackBerry Messaging Plan allows email and BBM use, but no web browsing. Only one email account can be linked to your BlackBerry and it needs to be a web-based one — think Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and so on.
The BlackBerry Social Plan allows for access to select social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Downloading applications from BlackBerry App World, browsing the Internet and using BBM is included. Under this plan, you are allowed one @mtn.blackberry.com email address — no web-based Push email. You can still access your web-based email account through your web browser though. The BlackBerry Social Plan costs about a third of the regular asking price.
For half the price of the standard offering, the BlackBerry Social and Email Plan allows BBM, web browsing, email and social networking. So you get the benefits of the BlackBerry Social Plan, with an additional web-based Push email account.
Note that the new plans have data restrictions. Both the BlackBerry Messaging Plan and BlackBerry Social Plan have a data allowance of 10MB each, while the BlackBerry Social and Email Plan has a 25MB data allowance. Customers will be charged at R1.00 per MB for any additional data access that is not included in the new BlackBerry plans.
The existing BlackBerry Internet Service is still priced at R59.00 (about US$7.50) per month.
Serame Taukobong, Chief Marketing Officer at MTN SA says that young BlackBerry users “use BBM as their primary means of communication; and through these new services, they can now reduce the amount spent to stay connected.”
The packages were tailored in response to MTN’s observation that some BlackBerry customers did not have the BlackBerry Internet Service activated.
MTN is the second mobile operator to introduce tiered plans in South Africa. 8ta recently introduced a BlackBerry Internet Service package for around half its usual price.