Why South Africa does not get unlimited voice and data plans like the US and the UK

Hanno Labuschagne

Staff member
Sep 2, 2019
Why South Africa does not get unlimited voice and data plans like the US and the UK

South Africa's heavy reliance on mobile connectivity for Internet access is one of several reasons the country's biggest local cellular networks cannot readily offer uncapped data and voice minutes like operators in developed countries.

South Africans who travel to or have moved to Europe, the UK, or the US often remark how caps on calls or data are virtually non-existent, even on relatively affordable mobile plans.
Competition abroad… Collusion domestically

That said payg data in the US is horrendously expensive.
The cheapest unlimited data plan in the UK is £16 (R380).
It is offered by iD Mobile, a virtual operator using the Three network.
I picked up a 100GB, unlimited calls package on Lyca for £6.99 on Black Friday. I could have gotten an unlimited package for £10 from them too on Black Friday, but since I rarely use more than 10GB I didnt see the need to spend the extra £3.
What about the MTN and VC offerings with unlimited calls, plus high data packages? those were priced far better and probably covers 90% of use-cases. The extra bit to get to fully unlimited adds a premium, a bit like doing some off-grid vs fully-off grid power systems. 90% is good enough..

Im paying £16 a month (Smarty), prepaid (no contract) for unlimited data, voice and SMS and Free EU roaming (12gb per month in EU)

Edit: Ive tested their "Unlimited" claim. There is no AUP as far as I can tell. I used a 5g router for Netflix & downloads for about a month without any restrictions