South Africa’s third largest mobile operator, Cell C has said that it will make WhatsApp Calling free to its numerous users from Sunday 24 January, 2016 to last till the end of the month.
Founded in November 2001, Cell C is owned by 3C Telecommunications, where 60% is owned by Oger Telecom South Africa, a division of Saudi Oger; 25% owned in an uninhibited holding by CellSAf, and the remaining 15% by Lanun Securities SA.
The aim for the free WhatsApp calling, Cell C said, is ‘to show its support for all over-the-top (OTT) players and their unhindered participation in the South African mobile industry’.
Vodacom and MTN have both successfully lobbied the government to investigate and possibly regulate the operations of Over-The-Top (OTT) services, like WhatsApp.
The CEO of Cell C Jose Dos Santos shared his views earlier this week on the possibility of regulating WhatsApp in South Africa.
Cell C says that possible local regulation of over-the-top (OTT) services like WhatsApp could harm the telecommunication industry and the consumers.
OTT services include WhatsApp to Skype and Google Hangouts which allow users to send messages and make calls over data networks. Users make use of these services mostly at lower costs than the traditional telephone calls or SMS.
“MTN and Vodacom have declared war on consumer interests.
“The infamous duopoly wants to limit how we use Internet services like WhatsApp – and it has nothing to do with fairness, competition or the future of South Africa”.
“To the contrary, it is all about maintaining their stranglehold on a vital artery feeding our country’s economic and social future,” Dos Santos said. He accused Vodacom and MTN of caring more about the money than customer satisfaction.
Cell C says their contract customers and prepaid customers on the MegaBonus plan will be able to make free calls with no data costs incurred when making WhatsApp call.
“For two years, Cell C has embraced services like WhatsApp and Facebook by offering customers innovative and very affordable products and services,” said Dos Santos in a statement toady.
Cell C said that by creating partnerships with OTT players, network providers have the ability not only to make money but to find ways for user to benefit.
“These services offer some of the most affordable communications in the market today, and regulating them will only increase the cost to the consumer.”