Shoprite Group plans to launch mobile phone service in SA

The Shoprite Group, Africa’s largest food retailer is planning to introduce its own mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

The chief executive officer of Shoprite Holdings, Pieter Engelbrecht said during a results presentation that the group would aim to leverage the ‘petabytes of customer data’.

The retail group rolled out K’nect in 2019, a stand-alone store format which sells mobile products and related services and offers entry-level financial services and products to consumers across all income sectors.

K’nect stores intend to meet customers’ needs when it comes to airtime bundles, a data top-up or even a brand-new electronic device such as a cellphone, remote or flash drive.

Shoprite’s plans around mobile emerge after competitor Pick n Pay introduced its PnP Mobile MVNO, operating on MTN’s network, in November 2020.

PnP Mobile is the first MVNO to use MTN’s newly-launched MVNO service, and it will enable customers to have access to prepaid SIM-based services such as airtime, data, and SMS.

South Africa has several other significant MVNOs, the majority of which run on Cell C’s network. These include FNB Connect, Standard Bank Mobile, Mr P Mobile, and me&you Mobile.