TELEVISION viewers who do not want to be tied into costly contracts are for the first time being offered a prepaid viewing option.

TopTV has announced the launch of TopTV Prepaid, involving a voucher that enables its subscribers instant access to unlimited entertainment across the channels it offers.

It was launched today. TopTV chief executive Eddie Mbalo said the prepaid system was “fairly unique”, and used in only a few other countries.

“It is an instant payment option that will give customers immediate access to a world of unlimited entertainment. The prepaid option is an easy, accessible and affordable subscription payment option that we believe will have a significant and positive impact on subscriber growth,” he said.

South African consumers were already “prepaid-savvy”, and the payment method would encourage subscribers to connect, or reconnect as they pleased, Mbalo said.

It provides instant access to 62 television channels and quality programmes that are currently offered by TopTV.

This, said Kgomotso Lekola, the chief operating officer of TopTV, took into account the fact that a vast number of South Africans, about 40 percent of adults, do not have bank accounts.

Initially, the TopTV Prepaid voucher will be available from major retail outlets countrywide, with two different price and channel package options: the Variety package, at R109 for a 30-day period from activation, and the Ultimate package, for R279 for 30 days. A R10 administration and distribution fee is included in these two prices.

The TopTV Prepaid service enables a current or potential subscriber to activate a voucher for instant connectivity to the TopTV platform of channels.

“This service will also free up our call centre, and customers will no longer need to use their airtime to make that call to get connected to TopTV, as the prepaid systems are almost completely automated,” said Lekola.

There is no reconnection fee if a contract has lapsed.

To activate the TopTV prepaid voucher, a customer must dial *120* TopTV(86788)#, follow the prompts to enter the TopTV Smartcard number and the prepaid voucher number and, within seconds, the TopTV decoder will be activated.

A subscriber may upgrade from the Variety to the Ultimate package at any time during a 30-day cycle, with immediate activation. The remaining credit days on the Variety voucher will be automatically reinstated at the end of the 30-day upgrade period.

However, if a subscriber wishes to downgrade the package, this can take place only at the end of the 30-day voucher period.

For more information, go to - The Star