Guiding consumers since 2009

Mobile data costs too expensive

By Staff Writer
By Ashleigh Brown, journalist, Justmoney 
 
Mobile users are shifting from voice to data more now than ever before. Due to high data costs in South Africa, this has left many with exorbitant cell phone bills at the end of the month.
 
Mobile operators have seen massive growth in data consumption as consumers turn to services like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, and other applications for instant communication at lower costs compared to traditional voice services.
 
However, many operators are now making voice calling and SMSing cheaper, in order to still get revenue from those services.
 
Even though voice calls and SMS’ are cheaper than they were, many smartphone users prefer to use data based communication platforms. 
 
In a press release Vodacom said that they had attracted 1.81 million new data users to grow their data customers to 17.01 million and increased total data usage by 70%.
 
“Our strategy is to provide customers, particularly those on tight budgets, with exactly what they need, when they need it, and at a price they can afford. Much has been said about bringing down prices for those consuming large amounts of voice and data, but this bundle strategy is the key to driving internet penetration for all South Africans,” said Phil Patel, Vodacom’s Chief Commercial officer.
 
WI-Fi 
 
With an increasing need to stay connected, government has started ambitious projects to help keep South Africans online. 
 
Helen Zille, premier of the Western Cape, promised in her State of the Province Address that the province would see universal internet coverage in a deal signed with Neotel.
 
"Neotel has therefore generously committed to funding the infrastructure rollout of 384 Wi-Fi hotspots, using Western Cape Government buildings, which will cover almost every ward in the province. Our government will be subsidising the free portion of citizens' internet access," said Zille.
 
Another such project is Project Isizwe. This project aims to provide free internet to the City of Tshwane. 
 
The South African National Taxi Association (Santaco) started rolling out a free service on 12 June 2014, with an intension to equip 1500 taxis in 50 taxi ranks across the country with WI-FI access points, reported IOL. 
 
Adding to this, many other taxi services, such as Uber and African Eagle, partnered with Orange, are bringing free WI-FI to their customers. 
 
Data costs 
 
Below is a table comparing data costs across major service providers, as on 6 August 2014.  
 

Vodacom

CellC

MTN

Telkom Mobile

Data Bundle

Price

Data Bundle

Price

Data Bundle

Price

Data Bundle

Price

10MB

R9

50MB

R7.50

5MB

R3

250MB

R38

30MB

R25

100MB

R15

20MB

R10

500MB

R69

100MB

R49

300MB

R45

50MB

R19

1GB

R119

250MB

R99

500MB

R75

100MB

R29

5GB

R349

500MB

R159

1GB

R149

300MB

R79

2GB+1GB*

R149

1.024GB

R279

2GB

R199

500MB

R99

25GB+25GB*

R999

2.048GB

R369

3GB

R299

1GB

R149

60GB+60GB*

R1800

3.072GB

R499

5GB

R399

2GB

R245

 

 

5.120GB

R829

10GB

R699

3GB

R299

 

 

10.240GB

R1629

20GB

R1199

5GB

R399

 

 

20.480GB

R3199

 

 

10GB

R599

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Vodacom, CellC, MTN, Telkom Mobile, prices correct as of 6 August 2014. *= Extra data with Telkom Mobile is active between 12am and 5am.

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