Cell C has cut is  prepaid call rates by more than 34%, making them competitive with – and, in many cases, cheaper than – post-paid rates for the first time in 18 years.

The company is releasing a new prepaid voice product and tariff plan called 99 Cents For Real, which slashes off-net, and peak call tariffs to 99c per minute, with per second billing from the first second.

99 Cents For Real takes away the complexity of tariffs as it gives customers a guaranteed flat rate of 99c per minute to make calls to any local network at any time of the day.

“This new tariff gives Cell C’s prepaid customers the best voice rate in the market, making it – in most cases – even cheaper to call from Cell C to other networks than it is for our competitors’ own prepaid customers to make on-net calls,” says Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig.

“Customers can phone who they want, when they want. They do not have to worry about peak or off-peak times, to which network the call is being made or in which zone they are. This is by far the most competitive, fair and transparent rate in the market today,” he adds.

Customers who sign up for 99 Cents For Real will receive pure per second billing from the first second which means that calls to any local network at any time will cost less than 2c per second.

“It is an unprecedented rate cut, which pre-empts lower Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs) next year, and will drive competition in the market to the benefit of consumers. Peak MTRs are currently R0.56 per minute. To ICASA I say ‘drop MTRs even further, provide Cell C with asymmetrical MTRs to help us achieve the scalability we need to compete even more fiercely with the large incumbents, and we will surprise you and them with our response. Help us to help the consumer’.

“With a vigilant Competition Board, the playing fields will be levelled, and competition will flourish in the telecoms sector with Cell C setting the pace,” says Knott-Craig.

As part of the 99 Cents For Real offer, Cell C is also cutting the rate of MMS messaging to 99c per message and giving customers data at 99c per MB. SMS charges will remain unchanged at 50c per message to any network.