Vodacom launches airtime advance

2011-05-23 14:56
Cape Town - Vodacom has launched a service that allows customers to get an airtime advance when they run out, the cellular provider announced.

"Qualifying prepaid customers will be able to request R10 worth of advance airtime from Vodacom through this service, and Vodacom will deduct the advance amount from the customer's next recharge," Vodacom said in a statement to News24.

In order to qualify, a prepaid user will have to have been a Vodacom customer for 12 months, registered with Rica, and must have recharged with a minimum of R29 in the preceding six months.

"We like to think of Airtime Advance as a solution that could be a life line for our customers when they have no airtime and are in desperate need of it. With Airtime Advance, we are giving our customers the ability to communicate even when they have no airtime," said Portia Maurice, Vodacom chief officer of corporate affairs.

Vodacom has said that the programme's terms will limit fraud.


"The qualifying criteria will ensure we offer the service to our loyal customers - been with us for 12 months or more, recharged with R29 every month for six months and registered for Rica."

In addition, a user cannot have more than one advance. Vodacom said that it works on a "take one, repay, take another, repay" system.

Vodacom has been on a drive to expand its footprint in the South African market.

After recently changing its branding to better reflect parent company Vodafone, the company launched a 43.2Mbps network in SA.

"Speed is good, but this allows us to better use the throughput of the network. It allows us to increase our capacity on the network. We're the first to make a 43.2Mbps network live in South Africa," Vodacom's executive head of media relations Richard Boorman told News24 at the launch.

At the annual results conference on May 16, Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys emphasised the company was growing its data networks and mobile broadband strategy, seen as a key driver of growth.

Uys also said that the telecom would focus on customer experience by improving its networks.


Vodacom hopes that this programme will drive customers away from other networks, but is reluctant to provide details on how many of its subscribers may qualify, citing "competitive sensitivity".

The company said it does not restrict how subscribers use the advanced airtime.

Prepaid customers will be levied R1 for every R10 advanced airtime they receive and have to dial *111*082# to access the service which was launched on Sunday.

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