Johannesburg, 21 November 2018 – In a further move to cement its position as an integrated financial services organisation offering exceptional value, Standard Bank is entering the airtime and data market with the launch today of its first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service, Standard Bank Mobile.
Standard Bank will be providing wireless communications services under its own brand – SB Mobile – and will be using wireless capacity from mobile operators Cell C and MTN.
With the MVNO space fiercely competitive in SA at the moment, Stephen Bailey Standard Bank Mobile CEO, says SB Mobile is offering something totally different: an integrated (rather than a stand-alone) service, which rewards subscription customers with free airtime and data for doing something they do every day – bank Customers also earn free data every time they use their credit , cheque or debit cards. We have also done away with data bundles, customers can select the data price that suits them, with no expiry. Data pricing is from 5 c per mb.
Pricing relief comes as consumers face immense pressure from high data costs and general increases of goods in the wake of a rise in VAT this year. Communication costs are reduced as an SB Mobile client receives free airtime and data based on their specific account tier and the number of times they transact.
Funeka Montjane, CE for Standard Bank Personal and Business Banking South Africa says: “We are not launching a new mobile network. We are extending our digital offering to our clients. As Standard Bank embarks on an extensive digitisation drive, mobile communication has become a key feature in modern financial services. It’s impossible to separate your phone, from you credit card, insurance or ability to transfer funds across borders. SB Mobile is an extension of our digital offering.”
“Expiring data bundles are a thing of the past, customers can choose data pricing that is most relevant to them, they can simply add it to their monthly subscription and will then get more rewards the more they transact.” explains Montjane.
Doing banking should not be seen as a grudge purchase and Standard Bank’s commitment extends to providing value-added services to a broader section of society that traditionally saw banking as too expensive.
Signed up customers to SB Mobile will not be beholden to onerous terms and conditions to get their airtime or data. Rewards are tiered so that every time they transact they get something back – 1MB of data is given back for every R10 spent on all transactional cards, for instance, at a monthly fee of R39. Youth and inclusive banking clients will pay no fee, however.
Tiers are based on Elite (R105 free airtime), Prestige (R205), private and professional (R369) and Wealth & Signature (R469 in free airtime). All credit card transactions for signed up SB Mobile clients qualify for 1MB for every R10 and R100 free airtime for the R39 monthly fee.
Standard Bank – the largest bank by assets in Africa and a leader in digital banking innovation across the continent – has no intention of becoming a telecommunications company, however. It sees the true opportunity in the convergence of telecoms with financial services.
“We are widening the digital banking experience for customers across the organisation and our intention is to significantly enhance the value they receive. We are combining free voice and data with cutting edge financial services to deliver exceptional banking experiences and value,” says Montjane.
While Cell C is the network operator currently in use, the bank remains open to other network providers in the future as it expands and adds additional services with a view of extending the offering across Africa.
SB Mobile plans to provide handsets in the first quarter of next year and to add broadband services – like fixed LTE and fibre – shortly afterwards. The current service will provide a branded sim card with a new number, while existing cell numbers can also be retained.
“We are offering the next level of connectivity based on choices a customer wants to make. In the new digital world people’s expectations are increasing and customers are demanding more personalised, reliable products and services at the time and place they want them. Standard Bank is committed to continuously providing real value to people’s lives and we have determined that ultimately their choice of service provider is based on value for money and service quality,” says Bailey.
We are constantly on seeking ways in which to connect and grow with our customers, which is the primary reason for launching this service. Our customers are at the heart of what we do at Standard Bank,” concludes Montjane.