SIM card management company Flickswitch has launched South Africa’s first managed pre-paid service for mobile voice or data services, called SIMcontrol.
The service monitors pre-paid SIM card balances, and recharges them remotely with airtime or data bundles. Described as a “contract SIM without the contract”, it fills the gap between typical 24-month contracts and prepaid options.
“Long-term contracts simply don’t suit everybody, especially 3G data SIMs,” says Flickswitch co-founder Hein Koen. “Many people are looking for a service that combines prepaid flexibility with the convenience of contract SIM cards.
SIMcontrol allows users to select their own minimum recharge levels, and choose which airtime amount or data bundle they would like to recharge with. When the balance on the SIM drops below the recharge level, the SIM is automatically topped up from their pre-funded purse. The SIMcontrol online portal also allows users to view their SIM balances, recharge rules and detailed usage reports at any time.
“It gives people control over their 3G data or airtime spend, without the hassle of manual prepaid recharges. Having no contract means people can switch or change services as they please,” says Koen.
Koen says many companies find it difficult to effectively manage 3G data use. “Open-ended data contracts often lead to expensive out-of-bundle use as well as wastage of unused data. It’s a new cost for companies and a problem that didn’t exist a few years ago."
Telemetry companies managing a range of devices using GSM SIM cards such as tracking devices, point-of-sale units and industrial applications also represent a large part of the existing client base. These devices are often prone to SIM theft and abuse of open-ended contract SIM cards.
The managed prepaid service is offered on any Vodacom pre-paid SIM card. Remote recharge services are also offered on the MTN and MTC Namibia networks. The company plans to extend its services to several southern African mobile networks.