More than 2-million customers have signed up for MTN's pre-launch Zone offering – a pre-paid per-second system that could save users up to 95% of their call costs.
MTN Zone was formally launched this morning, but has been available to existing pre-paid customers since December, with between 50 000 and 60 000 people having signed up every day since then.
Tim Lowry, MD of MTN SA, touts MTN Zone as a "genuinely new product and concept" that will help to extend mobile penetration into new areas of the country. He says MTN Zone is a world first to be launched in a competitive market and bound to be followed locally and internationally.
"MTN Zone is a new per-second billing tariff plan that offers realtime dynamic discounts depending on a user's location and the time of day," he explains.
"The disounts also depend on whether the network is loaded at that time."
MTN Zone will help MTN to smooth its network traffic by offering users discounted calls at times when the network, or a particular section of the network, is under-utilised – the discount being proportionate to the traffic being carried at that point in time and location.
The base rate for calls on the MTN Zone scheme is R2,50 per minute – which is an immediate discount on the regular per-second peak tariff of R2,80. When the network is congested, there would be no discount offered on the base rate, but at other times discounts could vary from 5% to 95%.
MTN hopes the discount structures will help to migrate users away from the current peaks and troughs to achieve smoother network traffic, which will lead to better call quality.
“At MTN we regard our customers and their needs as the key reasons for doing business and therefore we aim to meet their needs," says Lowry. "For some time now, South African customers have insisted on more affordable cell phone tariff options, as reflected by requests from government, the media and customer forums.
"We believe that MTN Zone will meet and exceed these expectations, offering significant discounts based on the principle of supply and demand, especially for those who need it the most."
With the MTN Zone roll-out, MTN SA is also creating new jobs. More than 750 MTN Zoners are currently educating South African consumers on the benefits of MTN Zone in townships countrywide. The initiative is expected to grow and MTN SA foresees 1 400 new jobs being created through MTN Zone by the end of the year.