Telecom Review Africa conducted an exclusive interview with Calvin Collett, founder and CEO of Melon Mobile, to discuss the main challenges and opportunities for Melon Mobile as a new MVNO in the market. He shed light on the company’s target customers as well as the pain points that Melon Mobile can address. He outlined some of the benefits of partnering with MTN. Finally, he shared some thoughts on the company’s future plans regarding eSims technology.

What are the main challenges and opportunities for Melon Mobile as a new MVNO in the South African market, and how do you differentiate yourself from the existing players?

To disrupt the South African mobile market, we looked at all the things creating friction for the majority of consumers — things like inflexible mobile plans, having to RICA in-store, number porting and even activating a SIM. Our opportunity then became about making all those things seamless and simple. We did that with Melon, creating South Africa’s first fully digital mobile company, where everything can now be done through the App. We’re confident that when consumers experience the freedom, flexibility and control of Melon, the choice won’t be a difficult one.

What are the benefits of partnering with MTN as your network provider, and how do you ensure a seamless and reliable service for your customers?

MTN was an obvious partner for Melon. They’ve been the leading network provider over the last five years, but they are also openly encouraging the development of the MVNO sector in South Africa. This partnership will help Melon deliver on our promise of mobile freedom to all our customers. It also allows us to support the same technologies that MTN offers.

Who are your target customers, and what are their pain points and needs that Melon Mobile can address?

The lower end of the market is price-sensitive; the top end is service-sensitive. So, we’re focusing on middle-market, tech-savvy pre-paid users who love the control of pre-paid but don’t necessarily get the freedom and flexibility they require. They want convenience, simplicity and value. And that’s what we’re giving them. We’re not saying contract customers can’t join Melon, though. Everyone is welcome.

How do your unique features, including non-expiry data, self-RICA and choosing or building your own Melon plan, enhance the customer experience and value proposition?

In one word, simplicity. Melon is designed to be frictionless — to get you from downloading the App to using Melon for the first time in just five minutes. Users are taken through the process in a natural, step-by-step manner to find the perfect monthly mobile plan that will work for them. They can then change it whenever they want. On top of that, we’ve created competitive pricing models and value-added products like non-expiring data and voice to offer an exceptional mobile service at the best possible price. We really have put the consumer first, and that’s exactly what we intended from the very start.

What are your future plans for expanding your product offerings and reaching new markets, especially with regard to eSim technology?

Our first priority was making sure we built a great product that worked how we imagined it to. In the near future, Melon Mobile plans to incorporate new technologies, such as eSIMs, into their product offering. E-SIMs are a digital alternative to traditional physical SIM cards that provide greater flexibility to users. The company hopes to have eSIMs ready for use by June, which will allow customers to switch mobile carriers more easily and without requiring a physical SIM card. From there, we’ll continue to add solutions to enhance our customer’s experience without overcomplicating things. If it feels like it’s like that, it’s wrong for us. There are many exciting things to come from Melon.

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