After a long hiatus without selling new plans, the Interbank resumed its mobile phone service and relaunched the Inter Cel – now with space in the name. The virtual mobile operator now uses the network of Alive instead of Surf Telecom (which uses TIM antennas), it has plans starting at R$25 per month and 14% cashback during launch.
“We started again”, says Banco Inter about the new Inter Cel
Banco Inter already had another virtual operator. Intercel (no space in the name) used the infrastructure of Surf Telecom, which serves other operators such as Correios Celular, Lari Cel (by actress Larissa Manoela) and dozens of soccer teams.
In the live presentation to customers, Banco Inter confesses that the former Intercel did not go as planned:
Evolving implies experimenting and taking risks, and in this process, making mistakes is part of it. Among countless new services launched, one did not turn out as we dreamed. But we learned from that experience. We start over. Now we are ready to offer you something better.
Banco Inter, on Intercel and Inter Cel
Intercel had problems with Surf Telecom
Banco Inter began selling the plans of the first Intercel on May 20, 2020.
A month later, in June, Banco Inter started to market a promotion of double plans, with up to one year of cell phone plan for those making early recharges. You paid the equivalent of six months, but you were entitled to a year of service.
But on July 9, 2020 there was a serious failure at Surf Telecom that knocked down the signal from the chips of all partner virtual operators. There were days without service, which ended up impacting Intercel’s reputation.
Later, it was discovered that the failure was caused by a disagreement between Surf Telecom’s partners: the operator claims that Plintron, which is also a supplier, interrupted the provision of services without any communication or plausible justification.
A few days later, the service was re-established, but it did not take long for Banco Inter to suspend the sale of chips. In January, the financial institution announced that it would launch a new virtual operator, this time in partnership with Vivo in place of Surf Telecom.
The former Intercel customers eventually migrated to another virtual operator, Mega+. This same tele is home to clients of Maga+, Magazine Luiza’s former cell phone company. Like Inter, the retailer also ended its contract with Surf Telecom and should launch a new operation with Claro.
None of the companies disclose the reason for switching suppliers. To Techblog, Surf Telecom revealed that the closed deals “are natural market movements” and that “just as the deals were closed, many new customers started, and this number has been growing at an accelerated rate for Surf”.
More details about the Surf Telecom imbroglio(s) are reported in the special Did virtual mobile operators work?.
The plans of the new Inter Cel
Inter Cel’s plans are the same as those previously disclosed by Techblog:
|internet package||calls||monthly price|
|1.5 GB, being:
1 GB of the plan
|60 minutes for any operator
Unlimited calls to Vivo and Inter Cel
|3 GB, of which:
2 GB of the plan
|100 minutes for any operator
Unlimited calls to Vivo and Inter Cel
|5 GB, being:
3GB of the plan
|Unlimited calls to any operator||BRL 40|
|8 GB, of which:
5 GB of the plan
|Unlimited calls to any operator||BRL 50|
|13 GB, of which:
8 GB of the plan
|Unlimited calls to any operator||BRL 75|
All packages are prepaid and include free access to the Banco Inter and WhatsApp app. Starting with the R$50 plan, data traffic from Waze and Moovit also does not deduct from the main franchise.
One of Intercel’s advantages is that the balance of data and voice accumulates for the next month, as long as the renewal is made within one day after the end of the previous period. Whoever runs out of 4G can buy an additional package with 1.2 GB of internet, for a cost of R$ 12 and valid for 7 days.
To be an Inter Cel customer, it is mandatory to have a digital account at Banco Inter. The amount of the first monthly payment is debited from the balance and the chip will be sent to the customer’s home.
An important detail: the new Inter Cel does not support eSIM, as in the old Intercel. In May, Banco Inter informed the Techblog that the digital chip would not be available at launch.
Inter Cel has 11% cashback on launch
For the launch of Inter Cel, Banco Inter gives cashback of 14% for a limited time to anyone who requests a new chip. With this, it is possible to save up to R$ 10.50 on the most expensive plan.
The cashback balance goes directly to the customer’s checking account. The bank also says customers will get cash back on all plans after the launch period, but it did not say a percentage.
Interbank conditions internet bonuses to portability
According to Banco Inter, whoever carries out the number portability process guarantees another 2 GB bonus every month for a year. The exception is for those who migrate from Vivo numbers and their virtual operators, who cannot participate in the promotion.
But any customer must be able to activate the portability offer, whether they are a new Inter Cel user or migrated from a Vivo line. This is what determines an Anatel resolution:
All offers, including those of a promotional nature, must be available for contracting by all interested parties, including the Provider’s Consumers, without distinction based on the date of adhesion or any other form of discrimination within the geographic area of the offer.
Article 46 of Anatel Resolution 632/2014
If the bank or the operator refuses to comply with the offer, find out how to complain at Anatel or at Consumidor.gov.br.
Are Inter Cel’s plans worth it?
The short and blunt answer: probably not.
Vivo sells the Vivo Pré Turbo with 3 GB of internet for the price of R$ 14.99, valid for 15 days. This is equivalent to 6 GB with a monthly price of R$30 – it is double the amount offered by Inter Cel with the same price.
The discrepancy is even greater with the Vivo Pré Turbo with 4 GB, which costs R$ 19.99 valid for 15 days. There are 8 GB of internet per month with a recharge of R$40 – R$10 less than the similar plan offered by Banco Inter.
Inter Cel’s most expensive plans are definitely not worth it: with R$50 per month it is possible to hire Claro Flex with 10 GB of internet; a 16 GB version is sold by the competitor for R$69.90 monthly. Both plans include free access to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, something the bank does not offer at MVNO.