Data prices: 8ta vs MTN vs Vodacom vs Cell C

Telkom launched their mobile operator 8ta yesterday at a glitzy function at Lanseria airport. Telkom MD Pinky Moholi made it clear that 8ta is here to ‘disrupt the mobile market’ and bring more value to consumers.

8ta Managing Executive Amith Maharaj promised consumers that they will provide the platform for South Africans to communicate more. “I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the start of a new era in mobile phone communication in South Africa. Consumers will at last have a real choice.”

8ta’s voice and SMS offerings are undoubtedly very attractive both in terms of pricing and simplicity, but how does their data offering compare with Vodacom, MTN and Cell C?

8ta versus Telkom W-CDMA

The first interesting fact is that 8ta’s data prices are more expensive that Telkom’s own W-CDMA 3G on the move prices. 3G on the move’s R149 for a 500MB data bundle and R219 for 1GB is slightly cheaper than 8ta’s R150 and R250 respectively.

Maharaj however pointed out that 3G on the move is a post-paid (contract) product, giving a hint that 8ta’s postpaid data contracts may be more aggressively priced than their prepaid services.

8ta prepaid data

8ta launched with a prepaid Out of Bundle (OOB) rate of R1.00 per MB, half the price of Vodacom, MTN and Cell C’s R2.00 per MB. It is however more expensive than Virgin Mobile’s OOB price 60c per MB (it should be noted that Virgin Mobile only offers 2G/GPRS/EDGE speeds).

When it comes to data bundle prices 8ta is fairly competitive, but Cell C remains many times cheaper than the rest of the market. Cell C’s latest offering however does not offer small data bundles, and hence require a fairly large upfront investment, which may be too much for some consumers to afford.

The prepaid data bundles purchased from 8ta in a certain month will last until the end of the following calendar month while real time billing also comes standard,

The following table provides an overview of how the 8ta data bundle prices compare to Vodacom and MTN. 8ta is cheaper on all prepaid bundles, but is more expensive than MTN when it comes to OOB pricing after the in-bundle data is depleted.

Bundle size 8ta Vodacom MTN
100MB R50 R88 (110MB) R49 (75MB)
250MB R100 R139 (300MB) R149 (300MB)
500MB R150 R189 (600MB) R189
1GB R250 R289 (1.2GB) R289
Out-of-Bundle R1.00 R2.00 R0.19 – R0.65

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Data prices: 8ta vs MTN vs Vodacom vs Cell C