When it comes to saving money and cutting costs, most financial advisors will tell you not to renew your cell phone contract and switch to prepaid. But this is not necessarily the best option if you still want the latest smartphone. According to Antony Seeff, CEO of cellular savings company Tariffic, networks heavily subside the costs of the expensive handsets when selling you a contract. Also, if your monthly voice calls and data usage are particularly high, prepaid may not be the cheaper way to go.
Tariffic suggests cell phone contracts and networks that are best suited to each consumer’s individual voice and data needs. Initially set up to reduce the cell phone expenses of companies, and take a commission on the savings made to those businesses, the company is now opening its service to South African consumers.
Tariffic’s service is the only one of its kind in South Africa and is run with proprietary software, which goes through each item on a cell phone bill and collates a list of comparative alternatives from each network provider. Seeff says consumers are largely ignorant about their usage and thus do not know which contract would serve them best. This tool is meant to take the guesswork out of a decision that, in effect, should be saving you money and not costing you more.
All you have to do is log onto the website, select which networks you’re interested in, choose the handsets you want, and either upload your latest cell phone bill or input your current voice and data usage. The tool is free to use until April, when consumers may have to pay.
Says Seeff: “There are more than 10 000 combinations of packages and bundles in South Africa… so consumers don’t have a clue [about which one is right one for them].” This makes them an easy target. “Our software tracks every voice minute and megabyte consumed, and compares that to every combination of package, bundle and network that is out on the market.”
Prepaid customers are also encouraged to use the tool, especially if their monthly voice calls and data usage are particularly high, or if they’re looking to get find the most afford package for a new smartphone.
“There’s a misconception in the market that prepaid is the only way to go in order to save money. But often – especially if you’re looking for a handset – the best package and bundles for your specific usage can also save you money. Sometimes it can save you as much as prepaid can, he says.
While the current campaign aims to increase awareness about the company, Seeff says it is more about serving consumers who, for too long have been exploited by the networks. So, even after April, consumers will still be able to use the tool to identify the contract option for free, while paying for additional services.