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If you’ve been taking the Gautrain in Jozi recently or followed the #BeUnordinary hashtag, you’d have come across these orange banners with the winking cartoon face, tempting you to reconsider your mobile contract. The campaign is the workings of me&you mobile — a new mobile network in South Africa which plans to officially launch 4 May as South Africa’s first ecommerce mobile network.
“We operate completely online, sign-up via the website takes only a few minutes — including RICA and number porting — and even customer service can be done via consumer friendly channels like Whatsapp,” me&you mobile CEO Brett Howell tells Memeburn in a recent interview.
The quirky orange company is scrapping everything brick and mortar. Being a mobile virtual network operator, there are no physical stores and no mobile phones on offer. Only the SIM card will be delivered, either via post or courier. Let’s hope its the latter.
“Being online gives us that flexibility of keeping the prices down and continue to offer those great prices,” he points out. Howell notes that me&you mobile is capable of providing the best call rates in the country — as low as 39 cents per minute.
“Traditionally when people sign up for a 24-month contract, they’re tied in and a lot of that focus is placed on the handset. There’ll be more promotion around the product than the airtime or the tariffs that go along with the package,” the CEO states. We’ve stripped all that out.”
This means customers have to find their handsets for separately from the me&you mobile deal. “It’s a bit of new thinking for South Africans, but I think that if you look at what’s happened in the last couple of months, the timing for us has been quite phenomenal.”
Who loves their mobile provider? Hands up. Anyone? Anyone? pic.twitter.com/4o5uxMvslh
— Be Unordinary (@BeUnordinary) April 22, 2015
Another novelty, me&you mobile customers will have a customisable online profile where they can do all kinds of stuff like buy extra data bundles, change their contract or turn international roaming on or off. “If you sign up — testing the waters on a R100 — you can change the next month to R400. You can really manage your own telco lifestyle now,” says Howell.
The contract’s also month-to-month, which means you can opt out whenever you see fit.
“The more you commit in a monthly basis the better the rates will be,” Howell explains. “If you come onto our site and pick a R100, for example, your permanent rate would be 69 cents per minute. If you choose R500, your permanent rate would be 39 cents per minute.”
Asked about how the company feels about taking on South Africa’s already crowded and monopolised mobile telecom space, the CEO tells that, by being a virtual network, it doesn’t necessarily need to have the majority market to be profitable. “We don’t need 10 million customers. Our operation is lean. We don’t have a lot of overheads. To make the model work it can be successful with tens of thousands of customers instead of tens of millions.”