South Africa’s King Goodwill Zwelithini of the Zulu nation plans to launch a new mobile network, Bayede Mobile, on 1 November, according to a report. Bayede, a Zulu salutation that translates as “hail the king,” is already used in brands that have received King Zwelithini’s seal of approval, such as Bayede! Wines.
The company stems from a partnership between King Zwelithini, the founders of JR Capital, and an undisclosed mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) with local and international reach. Bayede Mobile will offer connectivity at an affordable flat rate. The MVNO’s director, Jane Nkadimang, said that the network will be hosted on the networks of South African operators Cell C and MTN.
MVNOs, we have observed, do well when they are tightly focused in terms of demographics or interest groups. In particular, they benefit when they begin with a pre-existing customer base or launch with pre-existing trust from the target demographic. This forthcoming MVNO from the leader of a sizable ethnic group in South Africa would seem to check all these boxes.
The Zulu nation comprises approximately one fifth of the population of South Africa, so King Zwelithini will have more than enough potential subscribers to utilize the network and bring in revenue. As king, he already has a strong, history-sanctioned brand identity that the MVNO can build on.
The simple, flat-rate, inexpensive pricing structure would seem to be appropriate for a rural population that does not have high levels of disposable income, a significant percentage of which is likely relatively new to mobile service. Finally, running over the network infrastructure of two national MNOs should ensure reliability and reach for the service, which are essential factors in the success of any MVNO.