Following the Competition Commission announcement that Vodacom will reduce monthly data prices from the beginning of April, Valde Ferradaz, the CEO of leading mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) enabler MVN-X, says the SA MVNO market, which is expected to register a compound annual global growth rate of 8.8% from 2018 to 2023, is poised for even greater acceleration.

This welcome announcement means compliance with the earlier instruction from the Competition Commission to Vodacom and MTN to reduce their prices by at least 50% and 30%, according to Eyewitness News. This reduction will be phased in over a period of two years across all channels, seeing one gigabyte of data dropping from an average R149 to no more than R99.

According to Ferradaz, this is a necessary and positive move for the industry at large. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction for both the economy and the consumer.” He says that one of the key benefits of powerful, trusted brands purchasing voice/data at wholesale is that MVNOs are in a position to add significant value and affordability to the lower-income sectors, and they are positioned to do so now more than ever before.

Ferradaz says MVN-X believes it is imperative that the market opens up, and this requires businesses with deep rural and geographical reach to get involved. “MVNOs with market penetration and large, recurring customer bases have a means of connecting the nation, and making connectivity accessible, affordable and convenient to all tiers of society.” 

The encouraging news means that fairer pricing structures will affect all tiers of the market, especially the disenfranchised, and this in turn has the potential to enable more consumers to gain access to what has, until now, been expensive and largely unattainable for the large majority of South Africans.

MVN-X CEO Valde Ferradaz. Picture: SUPPLIED/MVN-X
MVN-X CEO Valde Ferradaz. Picture: SUPPLIED/MVN-X

On the importance of having a connected nation, Ferradaz says, “connectivity plays a vital role in the community, especially in rural areas where access to essential services such as medical, jobs, educational support and transport is a massive challenge.

“Affordable access to voice and data must be used to empower people in all areas of life and most essentially at this time, in health care. Accessibility to information by all is absolutely critical. Lower data prices will make a significant and lasting affect on how we communicate around these community-based services.” 

The global MVNO market was valued at $54.1bn by Market Watch two years ago. “Even in SA’s anaemic economy, this is fertile ground which has just received a most timely government intervention,” says Ferradaz.

MVN-X is SA’s MVNE (mobile virtual network enabler) market leader, already enabling Standard Bank Mobile, Mr Price Mobile, and Clientele Life among others, and is well positioned to build on its more than 50% year-on-year growth as realised in 2018/2019. Ferradaz says the company is showing no signs of slowing down within this flourishing telecom sector. 

Founded in 2012 and a subsidiary business of the Ignition Group, MVN-X is an end-to-end MVNE which provides turnkey services to MVNOs. Based on an exceptional 2018/2019, Ferradaz says: “Our market is in an upswing and we are expecting to grow from 400,000 to 800,000 active subscribers in 2020 and to more than one-million active subscribers by 2021. With the Competition Commission regulating data prices — these targets appear even more within reach.”

“With the imminent drop in data prices, there’s no time like now for businesses with reach to partner with us to connect the nation, at scale and with pace. Any business looking to offer mobile services to their recurring customer base so as to enrich their value proposition, offer value for money and thereby retain or increase their share of wallet, can benefit from establishing a MVNO and should speak to us,” says Ferradaz. 

This article was paid for by MVN-X.

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