2010 was a special year for South Africa. We became the first African nation to host the Soccer World Cup and the country received its first affordable uncapped ADSL products.
At a time when ADSL data still cost R29 per GB, MWEB stunned the market in March 2010 when it launched its affordable uncapped accounts.
The company launched three options – 384kbps, 512kbps, and 4Mbps – priced at R219, R299, and R539 per month respectively.
It was an instant hit and forced other Internet service providers to scramble to match MWEB’s offer to survive.
2010 was also the year when DStv competitor TopTV launched, giving consumers a choice of seven pricing and channel bundle options that ranged from R99 to R249 per month.
At a time when DStv Premium cost R529 per month, there was tremendous interest in TopTV’s offerings.
People had high hopes that TopTV would bring strong competition to DStv and force it to reduce prices, but it faced a big challenge – sport.
Even though TopTV was cheaper than DStv, the absence of premium sports channels with rugby, cricket, and football crippled its ability to compete.
Multichoice also launched a new DSTV Lite service for R99 per month before TopTV’s offerings hit the shelves, with 25 video channels, 32 radio stations, and 10 DMX music channels.
All of this proved to much for TopTV, and in 2013 the struggling pay-TV operator changed its name to StarSat and has since faded into obscurity.
How prices changed between 2010 and 2020
It is interesting to look back at what people paid for widely-used products in 2010 and how prices changed over the last decade.
In October 2010, South Africans paid R6.80 for a US dollar (USD). Fast-forward ten years and the rand has weakened to R16.50 per USD.
The weaker rand impacted the petrol price, which is linked to the international oil price. In October 2010, a litre of Unleaded 93 petrol cost R 7.96 – nearly half of the current price of R14.66.
The price of a DStv Premium account and a McDonald’s Big Mac burger is also much higher than 10 years ago.
Broadband prices, however, plummeted over the last decade. In October 2010, 2GB of mobile data cost R389. Today you can buy 80GB of data for the same price.
The table below provides an overview of how prices in South African changed over the last 10 years.
|Prices in South Africa – 2010 versus 2020
|Petrol (Unleaded 93)
|ADSL Data (per GB)
|Mobile Data (per GB)