South Africa’s 8ta launches Blackberry service with aggressive pricing

South African incumbent operator Telkom is to offer ‘free’ mobile YouTube streaming to Blackberry devices in an effort to “Shake up the market.” The fixed-line player’s move into the mobile space took place last year, when it launched its 8ta division. Since then, the unit has pursued an aggressive pricing plan in a market previously known for high tariffs, not least for mobile data packages.

The ‘free’ YouTube offering (which is actually capped after 500Mb) coincides with the network’s launch of its Blackberry service and will include free Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) for the first three months as well as free and unlimited calls to a designated, fixed-line Telkom number. Other operators offering Blackberry services in South Africa charge for YouTube access.

The offer is available from April 24 and takes place in the context of an increasingly competitive mobile and data market in South Africa. The past few months have seen rival operators Cell C and Vodacom engaged in a tit-for-tat series of complaints against each other, with each accusing the other of misleading advertising in terms of their 3-and-4G offerings. Third-placed Cell C was forced to change its 4G branding relating to its HSPA+ network following complaints from both MTN and Vodacom. The carrier launched its 42Mbps HSPA+ network in Port Elizabeth this week, four days after rival Vodacom.

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