Vodacom recently launched its 5G network in South Africa, offering ultra-high download and upload speeds to mobile users on its network.
The mobile operator also launched fixed 5G products with monthly data allowances, presenting a high-speed alternative to home Internet products such as fibre or fixed-LTE.
Vodacom said that, given enough spectrum, 5G will work at average speeds of between 150Mbps-200Mbps. Peak speeds will reach above 1Gbps.
“5G speeds can vary and depend on multiple factors: how far away you are from a mast, which spectrum is being used, and how many people around you are using 5G,” the network said.
Vodacom 5G coverage is relatively rare at the moment, although it is expected to improve as the network gets more spectrum and continues with its rollout.
If you are in a coverage area, you will be able to take out a fixed-5G contract which includes a 5G router and a monthly allocation of data.
To provide an idea of the price of these fixed-5G packages, we calculated how much you would spend per Netflix episode streamed if you took out the Vodacom fixed-5G package with the best price-per-GB.
Vodacom 5G package and Netflix data usage
The package we chose to use for this comparison is the Nokia FastMile 5G Gateway + 400GB Data SIM 36-month contract, which is priced at R1,249pm and includes 400GB of anytime and 400GB of Night Owl data.
Night Owl data can only be used between 00:00 and 05:00, but for the purposes of this comparison, we will not include it in the price-per-GB calculation.
This is because while many Netflix viewers with this package may opt to download series overnight using their Night Owl data to optimise the value they get from the product, this behaviour is not comparable with the way Netflix is normally used.
The price-per-GB figure, therefore, represents the standard-case scenario in terms of 5G data usage. It is important to note that if you schedule Netflix downloads for Night Owl hours, your price-per-GB value would improve.
We can subsequently calculate that the customer pays R3.13 for every 1GB of mobile data consumed.
We previously measured the data consumption of Netflix streaming in both Full HD and 4K over a high-speed fibre connection.
As Vodacom’s fixed-5G solution offers a similar experience to high-speed fibre, we used this data to calculate how much each minute of streaming would cost us.
Below is the data usage per minute, hour, and season of Netflix streaming.
|4K vs FHD|
|Per season (10 shows at 45 mins)||24GB||51.3GB|
Vodacom 5G Netflix rate
Where Vodacom’s 5G offering differs from uncapped fibre is in its monthly data cap, half of which is only usable between 00:00 and 05:00.
Our comparison assumes no usage of the monthly Night Owl data allocation, but the price-per-GB figure may decrease substantially if you use your Night Owl data optimally.
Based on the data usage figures above and our price-per-GB of R3.13, we can see that the cost of streaming Netflix on Vodacom 5G is as follows:
|Vodacom 5G Netflix Cost|
|Time||Data usage||Total Price|
|Per season (10 shows at 45 mins)||24GB||R75.12|
|Per season (10 shows at 45 mins)||51.3GB||R160.57|
It should be noted that if you purchase a cheaper fixed-5G package with a lower data allocation but higher price-per-GB, the figures above will increase.
The same is true for users who take out a more expensive contract with a better 5G router, while those who use Night Owl data optimally will only effectively pay half this per-GB rate.
If you were to include Night Owl data from this comparison, you would only pay R10.64 to stream an hour of Netflix at 4K resolution instead of the R21.28 listed above.