South Africa’s mobile prices compared

A new report by Research ICT Africa compares prepaid mobile prices from Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta

By - April 12, 2012
Mobile operators

A new research report by Research ICT Africa shows that South Africa ranks poorly for prepaid mobile telephony affordability when compared to other African countries. South Africa ranked 30th out of the 46 African states included in the report.

The “Africa Prepaid Mobile Price Index 2012: South Africa” report found that “South Africa is now far behind countries where the regulator, unlike in South Africa, has enabled competition by enforcing cost-based mobile termination rates”.

“Mobile prices are cheaper in over 30 African countries than they are in South Africa with prices in Kenya, Mauritius, Egypt and Namibia only a fraction of the price of even the lowest priced services in South Africa,” the report states.

South African prepaid mobile prices

The report also assessed the prepaid prices in South Africa over the period January 2011 to January 2012, and found that Cell C and 8ta were the cheapest operators in the country.

8ta was the cheapest operator in the country until August 2011, when Cell C introduced its R0.99 tariff, a dramatic reduction in on-net prices from R1.50, making Cell C the cheapest operator in the country,” the report states.

South Africa low user basket

South Africa low user basket

Average prices

An interesting finding from the report was that although Cell C and 8ta sought to undercut the prices of other operators with lower pricing of their cheapest packages, their average prices remained unchanged.

The average is calculated as the average of per-minute prepaid call rates for peak, off-peak and off-off-peak rates for on-net, off-net and fixed-line calls in local currency (ZAR).

Operator Product Jan-11 Jan-12 Price Change
8ta Prepaid Voice 1,22 1,22 0,00
Cell C Easychat 99c 1,33 NA
Easychat allday 1,50 1,50 0,00
Easychat per second 1,82 1,82 0,00
Easychat standard 1,67 1,67 0,00
R0.99 1,33 NA
MTN Call Per Second 1,76 2,04 -0,28
Call Per Second Peak 1,86 1,99 -0,13
Muziq 2,83 2,83 0,00
One Rate 1,75 1,75 0,00
Zone 1,98 1,98 0,00
Virgin Mobile Prepay 1,66 1,49 0,17
Vodacom 4U Prepaid 1,72 NA
Big Bonus Voucher 1,51 NA
Prepaid AllDay per minute 1,40 1,40 0,00
Prepaid AllDay per second 1,70 1,77 -0,07
Vodacom 4 less 2,79 2,79 0,00
Day saver 1,75 NA
NA = not available– = website did not provide any information on this product at the time

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