Hello FNB 3G

Picture: Supplied.

As if to entrench its innovative position from quickly encroaching competitors, FNB has announced it will launch its own mobile network operator for its banking customers on June 15.

This means it need no longer say Vodacom, MTN or Cell C in the top left-hand corner of your mobile device’s screen. Try ‘FNB 3G’ for size.

One step beyond

It was the logical next step for the bank, which already sells mobile devices (250 000 to date); prepaid airtime top-ups (2 million customers buy airtime from FNB each month); and 3G data rewards. Add to that the fact that a major part of its business involves granting credit and collecting on that credit and you have the perfect platform to offer deals on cellphones.

Although it is using Cell C towers (and licence) for now, Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO of FNB Connect, says the offering is “network agnostic” and not exclusive to Cell C. In other words, if Vodacom and MTN warm up to the idea, their towers could be used too.

FNB has piloted this offering since November with a few thousand staff. FNB customers will be able to view the status of all their mobile devices and contracts via their online banking profile under the tab ‘My SIMS’.

Here you can buy airtime, change your bundle option month-to-month, top up an existing contract with an additional bundle or a prepaid offer, and set limits on your contracts. For instance, you can set an automatic recharge on either your voice, SMS or data limit (as well as a limit on the recharge). FNB will be offering the SIM and device separately.

Using your online banking profile, you can also port your number; block a SIM card (if your device is lost or stolen); and do a SIM swap. FNB also enables you to view your mobile device’s “transaction history” online – also known as itemised billing.

Since the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act (Rica) is subsumed under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica) – and as a banking customer you are automatically Fica-compliant – you won’t have to Rica your SIM.

eBucks bonus

Dependent on your eBucks profile, you could receive up to 40% back on your mobile device spend. If you don’t qualify for a particular package based on your affordability, FNB will recommend another. As part of the launch, FNB will be offering free delivery on SIMs within three working days.

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