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Standard Bank becomes mobile operator

Standard Bank South Africa has launched its MVNO, with attractive loyalty benefits, writes BRYAN TURNER.



With a focus on the convergence of banking and mobile, Standard Bank has launched its own mobile network service offering. Standard Bank Mobile works through its loyalty system, which is based on a customer’s use of banking services. Customers will also be able to buy airtime and data through the Standard Bank app, as one would with other service providers.

“We are not just launching a new mobile network. We are extending our digital offering to our clients,” says Funeka Montjane, chief executive for personal and business banking at Standard Bank South Africa. “It’s impossible to separate your phone, from your credit card, insurance or ability to transfer funds across borders. SB Mobile is an extension of our digital offering.”

The mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is made possible through infrastructure deals with Cell C and MTN, both of which provide LTE services to SB Mobile subscribers. These deals allow Standard Bank customers to get good coverage through these strong networks.

The bank’s customers will be rewarded for simply having an account with the bank. For example, Standard Bank credit card clients with the monthly service fee of R39 will receive R100 in airtime per month on their linked SB Mobile accounts.

Rewards continue from there, as SB Mobile customers will be rewarded 1MB for every R10 they swipe on their Standard Bank card.

Contract device offerings will be made available to enable the bank in acquiring customers in the same way other network providers do – through device and SIM offerings. This is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2019.

The bank’s future plans are to launch fixed LTE and fibre services, keeping closely in line with telecommunications providers like Vodacom, MTN and Cell C.

Montjane says that the MVNO is a customer relations effort: “We are constantly seeking ways in which to connect and grow with our customers, which is the primary reason for launching this service.”

With restructured methods of offering mobile services through loyalty, Standard Bank has positioned itself to be a prominent player in the telecommunications industry.