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FatBudgie, thin budget

This week, FatBudgie announced the lowest small business call rates in South African history – from as low as 25c per minute for calls to landline numbers and 39c per minute to mobile numbers.

The announcement eclipses similar announcements made by the mobile operators in July, effectively under-cutting its closest competitor by 11c on its ‚Äòcheapest’ plan.

New packages

The new FatBudgie rates range across three different plans – YellowBudgie for light users (if your staff members each make less than 10 minutes in outbound calls daily on average): GreenBudgie for average users (10-15 minutes): and BlueBudgie (more than 15 minutes).

Yellow costs R85/user/month plus a flat rate of 99c/min (mobile) and 38c/min (landline). Green costs R125/user/month plus call rates ranging from 59c to 84c/min (mobile) and 33c to 37c/min (landline), depending on user numbers. Blue costs R175/user/month plus 39c to 59c/min (mobile) and 25c to 29c/min (landline) depending on user numbers.

FatBudgie offers true per-second billing, cancellation at one month’s notice, free inter-branch calls and free quality-of-service management on the Green and BlueBudgie plans. View the tariff plan here.

Choice benefits

FatBudgie MD Sacha Matulovich says the telco brings choice and flexibility to the market. “Rather than be stuck with a rigid price structure, our customers can decide which usage bracket suits them best and tailor-make their price plan accordingly.

In addition, prices are utterly reasonable. Even better, it makes fair pricing available to micro and small businesses of 5 – 40 users. “If you’re a light user, you can go with a low fixed monthly charge of R85 and a reasonable call rate of 99c/minute. If you call more, your fixed rate goes up, but there’s a built-in volume discount for calls.

The pricing policy is in strict compliance with the Department of Telecoms and Postal Services’ dictum that pricing should be transparent.

Whereas other telcos often lock customers into 12-month or 24-month contracts, Fat Budgie further follows a standard one-month cancellation policy.


The savings are significant. Matulovich says in the higher-usage companies (ideal for the BlueBudgie package), pay just more than half the rate Telkom charges for calls to landline numbers, and just over a third of Telkom’s cost to mobile numbers.

If you have 10 average users, you’ll save about R900 per month. Annualise that and you have a significant saving!

Mobile smoke screens

Matulovich says cellular operators’ pricing concessions have certain limitations. “The new tariffs apply only to certain contract types and customer segments, while FatBudgie offers low rates to all our customers.

Connection Telecom, which acquired FatBudgie in June, recently revealed that the spate of mobile billing concessions further serves to distract the market from runaway data pricing, with Cell C in particular having increased its out-of-bundle data rates by 560% in May.

All eyes should be on data pricing,” says Rob Lith, Connection Telecom director. “As operators lose voice minutes to Voice over IP-based applications like Viber, and VoiP providers like FatBudgie and ourselves, they’ve begun to charge exorbitant rates for data on their networks, which may well be VOIP calls.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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