The factors most important to student cellphone users at Cape Technikon when making a choice between prepaid or contract services.
South Africans have had a passionate affair with cellular telephony since its launch in June 1994. But, by far the networks contract-less prepaid service has been an outstanding success, attracting hundreds of thousands of users who could not have otherwise been part of the subscriber base. The prepaid service has made cellular telephony accessible to all, especially the youth/student market. The author investigated the reasons into why students at Cape Technikon chose the prepaid service over the contract service and whether student allowance/ income affected the choice exercised. The prepaid system was voted as being most popular. Income levels had a direct bearing on the choice that students made but other factors such as perception, culture and socio-economic play a role in shaping the choices made. The most important factor to students was that no monthly bills were involved and total control over spending could be exercised. Recommendations to the cellular operators included, projecting a brand personality that attracted the youth and embracing the challenge of building long- term relationships with these customers.