MTN launches cheaper BlackBerry plans

2012-07-06 07:29
MTN has introduced new BlackBerry packages in SA. (RIM)

MTN has introduced new BlackBerry packages in SA. (RIM)

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Cape Town - Mobile operator MTN has introduced three BlackBerry plans as it looks to capture a higher percentage of the smartphone market in SA.

Customers can choose a plan starting at R14.95 per month that gives access to e-mail and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), but excludes unlimited internet access.

At a higher price point is a Social Plan for R19.95, allowing access to BlackBerry App World and social networks. Users are also allowed to browse the web and check e-mail.

For customers who want BBM, e-mail and internet access, the cost rises to R29.95 per month, which is significantly cheaper than the existing BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) for R59 per month. The plan excludes multiple e-mail accounts and has a data cap of 25MB.

"The new BlackBerry service plans are all available immediately on the MTN network," said Serame Taukobong, chief marketing officer at MTN SA.

Data caps

The two cheaper plans have a data caps of 10MB and customers will be charged R1 per MB for additional data on their plans.

MTN appears to have spotted that cost is a significant barrier to accessing the BIS.

"We observed that there are BlackBerry customers that do not have the BlackBerry Internet Service activated for a variety of reasons and this pointed us towards the need to introduce more options to address the range of unique customer requirements," said Taukobong.

BlackBerry smartphones make up around 65% of smartphones in SA and remain popular because of the unlimited BIS and chat applications like BBM, despite Research In Motion's troubles in the developed markets of the Americas and Europe.

The company has been on a charge to release its latest devices in developing markets like India and SA to fend off growing competition from Android-based smartphones.

On Tuesday, RIM launched the BlackBerry Curve 9320 that features the BlackBerry 7.1 operating system and the company claims a longer battery life. Where available, the device also supports mobile hotspot, allowing the smartphone to link other mobile devices to the internet.

New MTN plans:

BlackBerry Messaging Plan, R14.95, 10MB data cap
BlackBerry Social Plan, R19.95, 10MB data cap
BlackBerry Social and Email Plan, R29.95, 25MB data cap

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