Afrihost Zest T1 with 1GB data: is it worth it?

At 10:00 today (Wednesday, 18 June 2014) Afrihost is set to launch a promotion on an Android smartphone and 12GB of mobile data.

For R1,999 once-off, existing Afrihost customers will be able to buy the Zest T1 smartphone and 1GB of mobile per month for 12 months.

Afrihost values the bundle at R3,687: R2,499 for the device and R1,188 for the mobile data.

The question is: can you build a similar bundle from what’s already available in South Africa for less?

To investigate how well Afrihost’s deal compares to what is available in the market, we first have to compare its 1GB data offerings to what is available from other operators.

In its marketing material, Afrihost values the data portion of the deal at R1,188, which is what 1GB of data per month would cost at Afrihost when its promotions end.

This is shown in the table below:

1GB Data plans Monthly price Total over 12 months OOB Rate
Afrihost 500MB + 500MB R58 R696 R0.10/MB
Cell C 1GB contract/top-up (12 of 24 months) R69 R828 R0.99/MB
Vodacom 1GB contract/top-up (24 months) R69 R828 R1/MB
Telkom Mobile 1.5GB on-net contract (month-to-month) R69 R828 R0.30/MB
Cell C 12GB SIM (1GB every 30 days) N/A R899 R0.99/MB
Vodacom 1GB contract/top-up (12 months) R79 R948 R1/MB
MTN 1GB contract (24 months) R79 R948 R0.29/MB
Vodacom 1GB per month (pay once) N/A R999 R2/MB
MTN 1GB top-up (24 months) R89 R1,068 R0.29/MB
Afrihost 1GB (excl. bonus 1GB) R99 R1,188 R0.10/MB
Telkom Mobile 1GB on-net prepaid R119 R1,428 R1/MB
Telkom Mobile 1GB all-net contract (month-to-month) R225 R2,700 R0.30/MB

While Afrihost currently offers 1GB of mobile data for much cheaper than it values the data on the Zest T1 deal, keep in mind that Afrihost has announced that its promotions end in July.

Those who sign up before the end of June will enjoy double the data they pay for until the end of December, but after that the promotion is currently set to fall away.

This means that the cheapest possible price you could get from Afrihost on the 12GB of data (based on the information we have right now) is R942 over 12 months (R58×6 + R99×6).

However, to see if we could build our own smartphone deal with 1GB of data per month for a year for cheaper, let’s subtract the cost of the cheapest data package from the R1,999 Afrihost is charging.

Cell C’s 12-month data contract for R69/month is the cheapest (Vodacom offers a similar price, but over 24 months), coming to R828 over the year. Telkom Mobile also offers a competitive deal for R69/month on a month-to-month contract that provides 1.5GB of data, but it is an “on-network only” deal.

Subtracting the R828 for data from Afrihost’s R1,999 promotional price leaves R1,171 with which to buy a smartphone just to equal the Zest T1 deal.

To see what kind of phone we can buy for that price, we looked at the phones on sale from the Orange store, along with a few available from Vodacom and Kalahari.

These are summarised in the table below with some of the key specifications of the devices. So the table will fit, some specifications, such as battery and camera sizes, are not shown.

Smartphone Price CPU Display Storage RAM OS
Gobii 4″ IIP (dual SIM) ‡ R810 1.3GHz dual MT6572 4.0″ WVGA 4GB 1GB Android 4.2.2
Afrihost Zest T1 (effective price) R811 1.3GHz quad MT6582 4.5″ qHD 8GB 1GB Android 4.4.2
Vodacom Smart 4 Mini R899 1.3GHz dual MT6572 4.0″ WVGA 4GB 512MB Android 4.2.2
Acer Liquid Z4 Duo R1,405 1.3GHz dual MT6572 4.0″ WVGA 4GB 512MB Android 4.2
Gobii 4.5″ IVP (dual SIM) ‡ R1,510 1.2GHz quad MT6582 4.5″ FWVGA 8GB 1GB Android 4.2.2
Nokia X (dual SIM) R1,590 1GHz dual MSM8225 4.0″ WVGA 4GB 512MB AOSP-Nokia
Motorola Moto E R1,825 1.2GHz dual MSM8210 4.3″ qHD 4GB 1GB Android 4.4.2
Wiko Iggy R1,935 1.3GHz dual A7 4.5″ FWVGA 4GB 512MB Android 4.2
HTC Desire 310 R1,965 1.3GHz quad MT6582M 4.5″ FWVGA 4GB 1GB Android 4.2
Nokia Lumia 520 † R1,999 1GHz dual MSM8227 4″ WVGA 8GB 512MB WP 8
Nokia XL Dual SIM R2,105 1GHz dual MSM8225 5.0″ WVGA 4GB 768MB AOSP-Nokia
Acer Liquid E2 Duo R2,168 1.2GHz quad MT6589 4.5″ qHD 4GB 1GB Android 4.2
BlackBerry Curve 9320* R2,380 800MHz single 2.4″ qVGA 512MB 512MB BB 7.1
Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM R2,385 1.2GHz quad MSM8226 4.5″ FWVGA 8GB 512MB WP 8.1
Nokia Lumia 635 4G R2,385 1.2GHz quad MSM8926 4.5″ FWVGA 8GB 512MB WP 8.1
Acer Liquid Z5 Duo R2,457 1.3GHz dual MT6572 5.0″ FWVGA 4GB 512MB Android 4.2
ZTE Grand S Flex 4G R2,495 1.2GHz dual MSM8930 5.0″ 720p 16GB 1GB Android 4.1
Samsung Galaxy S3 mini R2,495 1.0GHz dual NTU8420 4.0″ WVGA 8GB 1GB Android 4.1
Zest T1 R2,499 1.3GHz quad MT6582 4.5″ qHD 8GB 1GB Android 4.4.2
Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2 R2,525 1.0GHz dual NTU8420 4″ WVGA 4GB 1GB Android 4.1
Acer Liquid E3 Duo R2,665 1.2GHz quad MT6589 4.7″ 720p 4GB 1GB Android 4.2
Geeksphone Revolution R2,805 1.6GHz dual Atom Z2560 4.7″ qHD 4GB 1GB Android / Boot2Gecko
BlackBerry Torch 9810 R2,805 1.2GHz MSM8655 3.2″ VGA 8GB 768MB BB 7
Motorola Moto G 4G R2,891 1.2GHz quad MSM8926 4.5″ 720p 8GB 1GB Android 4.4
* Cheaper prices listed on operator websites (e.g. Cell C, Vodacom)
† At Vodacom online shop
‡ Gobii devices include 200MB Cell C data per month for 12 months, which normally costs R189. This once-off cost has been subtracted from the prices in the table.

As the table suggests, it does not appear possible to get the equivalent of the Zest T1 for under R1,171.

The closest competitor, in terms of hardware, appears to be the Gobii IVP from Kalahari, but its processor is clocked slightly lower and it is not running the latest version of Android.

Devices running Android 4.4 “KitKat” below R3,000 appear to be limited to the Motorola Moto E, and Motorola Moto G.

From the above comparison, Afrihost’s Zest T1 deal at R1,999 for the device and 12GB of data is well worth it.

For an idea of what to expect from the Afrihost Zest T1, be sure to check out our review.

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Afrihost Zest T1 with 1GB data: is it worth it?