First National Bank is taking on South Africa's telcos with the launch of a mobile virtual network, offering customers its own SIM cards.
The bank already claims some two million customers for its various mobile-related products, which include pre-paid airtime top-ups, handsets, and ADSL and 3G data rewards. Now it is expanding into mobile voice and data products with its own SIM, which will go on sale later this month.
The mobile offering will be integrated with FNB's online banking service, giving customers a single account from which to manage their financial and mobile affairs.
Users will be able to create their own mobile packages, take advantage of a prepaid auto top-up feature, see real time call transaction history, and set bill limits and setting notifications.
Ordering and activation of the SIM cards will be done digitally while customers will also be able to carry out SIM swaps and blocks and activate international roaming calls through their online banking accounts.
According to TechCentral, the service has been years in the making and has been going through a pilot involving thousands of bank staff over the last few months. It uses telco Cell C's network and is completely integrated with FNB's core banking system and has its own billing and support platforms.
Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO, FNB Connect, says: "The banking landscape has evolved tremendously and with the help of technology we are able to better enrich the customer experience. We believe that this valuable service will assist customers with the opportunity to do their banking and mobile services from one platform."