MTN and Vodacom were the first to announce the significant changes, which will see Vodacom offer an unlimited calls and SMS fixed monthly fee for the first time.
The Red VIP deal also includes 1.5GB per month, and costs ZAR1,999 (US$220) a month. It is a 24-month contract and becomes available on Thursday, March 7.
Shameel Joosub, Vodacom chief executive, said: “Customers on the RED offer will enjoy a worry free mobile experience. They can make unlimited calls, send unlimited text messages and have loads of data to surf the Internet.
“This changes our game plan - we’re now putting all our efforts in ensuring that our customers enjoy the ultimate mobile experience.”
There are also Advantage (ZAR999 per month) and Premium (ZAR1,599 per month) packages available. Both contain unlimited SMSs, but calls are restircted to 700 minutes and 1,200 minutes, and data allows 700MB and 1,200MB respectively.
MTN’s One Rate plan is coming down from ZAR1.75 per minute to ZAR1.20 per minute. The new tariff is per-second billing and will not fluctuate at different times of the day and not charge extra for calling rival networks.
8ta, the mobile arm of Telkom, reacted to MTN’s reductions by simplifying its prepaid service.
The 8ta More plan, similar to the MTN One Rate, is getting rid of the changes in cost between peak and off-peak times.
It has come down from ZAR2.78 a minute to ZAR1.90 a minute for per second billing. If users recharge with ZAR5, ZAR10 or ZAR50 airtime they get 100 per cent extra airtime, meaning the cost comes down to 95c per minute.