South African clothing store Mr Price has secured itself a place in the history books by becoming the first retailer to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). To be called MRP Mobile, details about the planned move are still sketchy at this stage, with the retailer reluctant to divulge further information.

So far the official website for the service is a holding page with an image that reads: “Well hello there. We’re getting ready to launch the hottest, newest, most on-the-pulse brnad new mobile network. Shopping, chatting, surfing, texting… It’s all connected. Coming soon!”

It has already created a LinkedIn page for the new entity, and details that its new customers would be able to upgrade their contracts earlier than the usual 24 month period from traditional mobile operators such as MTN and Vodacom.

“MRP Mobile is the first retailer Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in South Africa that allows customers to upgrade earlier than the overdue 24 months. Just continue to do what you already are doing – use your MRP Mobile phone and shop at any of the Mr Price Group stores!” the description reads on the profile page.

According to TechCentral, former Virgin Mobile South Africa boss Steve Bailey will be at the helm of the new venture, and his MVN-X company will form the basis of MRPmobile. It will make use of Cell C’s network infrastructure.

According to MyBroadband, MRP Mobile will offer three smartphones on contract: Nokia Lumia 520, Nokia Asha 503, Samsung Galaxy Pocket Neo and one tablet, the Huawei Media Pad 7.

Voice calls will be billed at R1.79 per minute on per second billing, SMSes will cost 60c each and data at 99c per MB.

[Source – Mr Price, image – CC by 2.0/Johan Larsson]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.