Mobile data bundle price comparison

Despite a hike on 1 February 2015, Cell C’s prices on mobile data bundles below 500MB are still the cheapest in the business.

On higher volume data bundles, however, Cell C doesn’t compare as well.

Towards the end of 2014 Cell C announced that it would be making a number of changes to its product line-up from 1 February 2015.

These changes included significant price hikes and a few price cuts on some data bundles, as well as the discontinuation of Cell C’s 1GB, 3GB, and 5GB bundles.

Many subscribers were caught off guard by the changes, and have taken to Cell C’s Facebook page and Twitter to express their anger at the situation.

To see if you can get a better deal elsewhere, we have compiled a comparison of the data bundles South African mobile operators have on offer, beginning with the 25MB to 500MB range.

Mobile data bundle comparison 25MB – 500MB
25MB and under
Bundle Price In-bundle rate OOB rate Validity
Cell C 25MB R6 R0.24 R0.99 30 days
MTN 20MB + 11MB/1d R10 R0.50 R1.00 60 days
MTN 5MB + 2.57MB/1d R3 R0.60 R0.79 60 days
Vodacom 15MB R9 R0.60 R2.00 30 days
Telkom (All) 25MB R15 R0.60 R1.00 28-60 days
30MB – 50MB
Bundle Price In-bundle rate OOB rate Validity
Cell C 50MB R10 R0.20 R0.99 30 days
MTN 50MB + 27.5MB/3d R19 R0.38 R0.79 60 days
Vodacom 30MB R12 R0.40 R2.00 30 days
Telkom (All) 50MB R20 R0.40 R1.00 28-60 days
100MB
Bundle Price In-bundle rate OOB rate Validity
Cell C R19 R0.19 R0.99 30 days
Vodacom R29 R0.29 R2.00 30 days
MTN (+55MB/3d) R29 R0.29 R0.65 60 days
Telkom (All) R30 R0.30 R1.00 28-60 days
500MB
Bundle Price In-bundle rate OOB rate Validity
Cell C R85 R0.17 R0.99 30 days
Vodacom R99 R0.20 R2.00 30 days
MTN (+257MB/5d) R99 R0.20 R0.38 60 days
Telkom (All) R95 R0.19 R1.00 28-60 days
Telkom (Own) R69 R0.14 R1.00 28-60 days

Some notes on the tables used in this comparison:

  1. Only MTN data bundles lower your out-of-bundle rate. The 5MB and 50MB MTN bundles are the only ones that don’t modify the out-of-bundle (OOB) rate.
  2. Where a bundle does not modify your out-of-bundle rate, the OOB rate of an operator’s default prepaid package is shown.
  3. Telkom’s bundle validity is given as “Internet bundles will expire at the end of the next calendar month from the date of activation.”
  4. MTN is currently running promotions that offer bonus data on every bundle purchased, called the Data Giveback Promotions. Due to the limited validity of the bonus data, this is largely ignored except in the 1GB to 5GB range, where the bonus is valid for a 30 days.
  5. Telkom (Own) refers to bundles that only work on Telkom’s own mobile network, while Telkom (All) refers to bundles that can be used while roaming on MTN.
  6. Cell C also offers prepaid subscribers bonus value (airtime, SMS, data) when they recharge, but these “Supacharge” bonuses only become valid for 30 days if you recharge with R300 or more. The bonus data values are small compared to MTN’s, so they are not considered for the purpose of this comparison.

As the table above shows, Cell C offers very competitive rates when it comes to bundles below 500MB. However, the picture changes dramatically from 1GB onwards.

Mobile data bundle comparison 1GB – 25GB
1GB – 2GB
Bundle Price In-bundle rate OOB rate Validity
MTN 1GB + 1GB/30d R149 R0.07 R0.29 60 days
Telkom (Own) 2GB + 1GB a/h R149 R0.07 R1.00 28-60 days
Telkom (Own) 1GB R119 R0.12 R1.00 28-60 days
Cell C 2GB R245 R0.12 R0.99 30 days
Vodacom 2GB R249 R0.12 R2.00 30 days
Vodacom 1GB R149 R0.15 R2.00 30 days
Telkom (All) 2GB R349 R0.17 R1.00 28-60 days
Telkom (All) 1GB R180 R0.18 R1.00 28-60 days
10GB – 25GB
Bundle Price In-bundle rate OOB rate Validity
MTN 5GB + 5GB/30d R399 R0.04 R0.29 60 days
Telkom (Own) 20GB R999 R0.05 R1.00 28-60 days
Vodacom 20GB R999 R0.05 R2.00 30 days
Cell C 10GB R549 R0.05 R0.99 30 days
Cell C 20GB R1,099 R0.05 R0.99 30 days
MTN 10GB + 5.6GB/15d R599 R0.06 R0.29 60 days
Vodacom 10GB R599 R0.06 R2.00 30 days

The increase in Cell C’s 2GB bundle price from R199 to R245 dramatically impacted its standing in the table above.

Where it would have been ahead of Telkom’s 1GB bundle, and beaten only by an MTN promotion and Telkom’s 2GB + 1GB deal, it instead barely beats Vodacom’s prices.

Cell C’s 20GB bundle also doesn’t rank highly, despite a price decrease.

Its 10GB bundle performs better, but is beaten by MTN thanks to its Data Giveback special.

If MTN decides not to extend its Data Giveback promotions beyond 28 February 2015 these standings will change.

Until then, the yellow network’s 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, and 5GB data bundles offer fantastic value for money.

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Mobile data bundle price comparison