Vodacom and MTN subscribers pay up to 2,600% more for out-of-bundle data

The war on high prepaid and out-of-bundle data rates seems never ending.

Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel recently said bringing data prices down will be a priority for the government in 2018.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also weighed in on the issue in his State of the Nation address, saying increased competition and lower communications prices are high on his agenda.

Consumers and politicians are also not the only ones speaking out against mobile data prices.

MTN CEO Rob Shuter said last year that entry-level and out-of-bundle data prices are high.

Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said they are focused on addressing high out-of-bundle pricing, and reduced out-of-bundle data prices in October 2017.

High prices remain

Despite the verbal onslaught, however, there remains a large gap between contract, prepaid, and out-of-bundle data prices.

Vodacom’s prepaid data prices are up to 200% more expensive than comparable contract prices.

The situation is worse when comparing in-bundle and out-of-bundle prices, with OOB prices between 580% and 2,600% more expensive.

MTN, in turn, charges up to 234% more for prepaid data bundles than for comparable contract products.

Out-of-bundle prices are worse, with MTN charging between 850% and 1,928% more for OOB data than for in-bundle data.

The tables below provide an overview of the price differences.

Vodacom Prepaid vs Contract
Operator Data Bundle Contract Price Prepaid Price Prepaid vs Contract
Vodacom 1GB R79 R149 89% more expensive
Vodacom 2GB R109 R249 128% more expensive
Vodacom 3GB R169 R299 77% more expensive
Vodacom 5GB R179 R399 123% more expensive
Vodacom 10GB R229 R599 162% more expensive
Vodacom 20GB R329 R999 204% more expensive
Vodacom Contract Out-of-Bundle vs In-Bundle
Operator Data Bundle Price In-Bundle Price Out-of-Bundle Price OOB vs In-Bundle
Vodacom 1GB R79 R0.08 per MB R0.89 per MB 1,054% more expensive
Vodacom 2GB R109 R0.08 per MB R0.89 per MB 1,572% more expensive
Vodacom 3GB R169 R0.06 per MB R0.50 per MB 809% more expensive
Vodacom 5GB R179 R0.03 per MB R0.50 per MB 1,330% more expensive
Vodacom 10GB R229 R0.02 per MB R0.50 per MB 2,136% more expensive
Vodacom 20GB R329 R0.02 per MB R0.44 per MB 2,639% more expensive
Vodacom Prepaid Out-of-Bundle vs In-Bundle
Operator Data Bundle Price In-Bundle Price Out-of-Bundle Price OOB vs In-Bundle
Vodacom 1GB R149 R0.15 per MB R0.99 per MB 580% more expensive
Vodacom 2GB R249 R0.12 per MB R0.99 per MB 714% more expensive
Vodacom 3GB R299 R0.10 per MB R0.99 per MB 917% more expensive
Vodacom 5GB R399 R0.08 per MB R0.99 per MB 1,170% more expensive
Vodacom 10GB R599 R0.06 per MB R0.99 per MB 1,592% more expensive
Vodacom 20GB R999 R0.05 per MB R0.99 per MB 1,930% more expensive
MTN Prepaid vs Contract
Operator Data Bundle Contract Price Prepaid Data Prepaid Price Prepaid vs Contract
MTN 1GB R39 1.5GB R160 174% more expensive
MTN 2GB R69 3GB R260 151% more expensive
MTN 4GB R89 4.5GB R330 230% more expensive
MTN 6GB R149 7.5GB R430 131% more expensive
MTN 10GB R199 12.5GB R650 161% more expensive
MTN 20GB R299 25GB R1,250 234% more expensive
MTN Prepaid Out-of-Bundle vs In-Bundle
Operator Data Bundle Price In-Bundle Price Out-of-Bundle Price OOB vs In-Bundle
MTN 1.5GB R160 R0.10 per MB R0.99 per MB 850% more expensive
MTN 3GB R260 R0.08 per MB R0.99 per MB 1,070% more expensive
MTN 4.5GB R330 R0.07 per MB R0.99 per MB 1,282% more expensive
MTN 7.5GB R430 R0.06 per MB R0.99 per MB 1,668% more expensive
MTN 12.5GB R650 R0.05 per MB R0.99 per MB 1,850% more expensive
MTN 25GB R1,250 R0.05 per MB R0.99 per MB 1,928% more expensive

Vodacom explains

Vodacom logo

Vodacom said it is normal business practice to offer discounts to customers who make longer-term commitments.

“This as recurring revenues allow for more accurate forecasting upon which better-informed business decisions can be taken,” said Vodacom.

The company added that in-bundle rates are far cheaper, as bundles are a committed purchase that provides it with a greater deal of certainty as to when the service will be used.

“This means that we can plan and provision network capacity with a greater degree of accuracy.”


MTN explains

MTN logo on building

MTN executive Jacqui O’Sullivan said contract data offers include a fixed commitment, while once-off and recurring bundles are consumed when needed.

As such, the customer has the ability to remove or add data at any time.

“This degree of flexibility comes at a price premium and this is why recurring data bundles are somewhat more expensive,” said O’Sullivan.

She said out-of-bundle consumption will always be priced at a premium to entice customers to commit to bundle purchases.

“Bundle purchases offer the customer the benefit of attractive rates, while at the same time allowing the mobile operators the opportunity to understand customer demands.”

Forecasting allows operators to determine data demands and adequately prepare for them.

“We have done significant work to ensure that there is price parity between in and out-of-bundle pricing, which includes the introduction of our Steppa plan with a rate of R0.29,” she said.

“Customers also have the option to migrate to our Freedom price plan, which offers an out-of-bundle rate of R0.60 per MB.”


Now read: High mobile data prices – Operators respond

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Vodacom and MTN subscribers pay up to 2,600% more for out-of-bundle data