US pollster Stanley Greenberg.

If you want loyalty, get a dog, the saying goes.

But you wouldn’t look for it in a politician and you certainly wouldn’t find it in a political pollster.

Certainly, rubbing shoulders and scheming with the various liars, thieves and know-it-all low lifes who seek public office and claim to be political leaders, one can only be tainted by association with this wannabe class.

So, when, news agency Bloomberg told us that US pollster Stanley Greenberg was sharing his immense election wisdom with the DA, there was little surprise when we were told in the next breath that he advised the ANC ahead of the first democratic election in 1994 and again in 1999.

With former US president Bill Clinton and ex UK prime minister Tony Blair also on his dance card, Greenberg has shown he will work with anyone.

Greenberg, who clearly expects questions to be asked about changing sides, told Bloomberg: “I became discontented with the ANC’s performance and failures to address inequalities and unemployment. They need a strong opposition. For me, the place to work was with the DA.”

And in no time at all he is right on song.

“There are enough voters out there who are open to change because of so much money having being squandered and such critical goals not being met,” Greenberg said. “There is a clear sense that Zuma has enriched himself. I know there is a lot at risk for people and it’s not easy to break with the ANC.”

Wilmot James, the DA’s federal chairman, sees the value of having a turncoat on side: “We can second-guess the ANC far better with him being here.

“Times have changed and there are not the same people in the ANC. But he has great insight into their overall strategy, which he helped develop.”

Cellphone networks

Increasing competition between cellphone network operators has given rise to new pricing strategies to lock in consumers who may be tempted to migrate to cheaper operators.

The innovative pricing strategies are also a deterrent to the erosion of voice and SMS revenues by voice over internet protocol providers and instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, BlackBerry messenger and social media.

The new pricing methods include dynamic tariffs, one-to-one pricing, private pricing, time-based pricing and bundles of voice, SMS and data services.

Yesterday, Research ICT Africa published its study on telecoms patterns on the African continent.

In South Africa, things could become messier in terms of competition in the market. Pundits speculate about a price war that could lead to lower voice tariffs and claim a casualty or two.

Recently, the market has seen operators move towards a single flat tariff for calls made across networks.

Suddenly, the practice of carrying multiple SIM cards was no longer an advantage, an analyst said yesterday.

The South African telecoms market has been characterised by a complex structure of individualised discounts, bundling and dynamic pricing which is a mechanism for operators to regulate users’ demands.

So they offer cheaper or free calls at off-peak times. This is also a retention scheme, according to Research ICT Africa.

The pricing strategies, however, make the job tougher for the industry regulator, which will have to collect quarterly indicators of segmented average revenue per user and a monthly average minutes and data of use in order to assess whether the changes it had introduced have lowered the cost to communicate and level the playing field.

Although voice remains a key contributor for operators, the market should be focusing on the next frontier of competition: data. With talk of the large wireless operators pursuing content streaming options to boost data usage, one should wonder what the future holds for operators such as Cell C who do not have the spectrum nor the infrastructure to compete effectively.

Recently, the firm raised its out of bundle data rate from 15c a megabyte.

“If they really wanted to compete on the data front they were going to leave the out of bundle rate at 15c,” the analyst argued. page 19

Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Peter DeIonno and Asha Speckman.