Vodacom and MTN data prices vs mobile networks in Africa

ICASA has compared the price of mobile data from Vodacom and MTN to prices elsewhere in Africa.

It has also compared the data bundle pricing of South Africa’s mobile networks against their counterparts across the SADC.

ICASA performed the comparisons for its biannual retail tariffs report, covering the period of 1 July to 31 December 2017.

For the report, ICASA looked at the rates of 30-day 500MB, 1GB, and 2GB prepaid data bundles – converted them to US dollars.

It found that South Africa was not the most expensive or the cheapest country for mobile data – as detailed in the graphs below.


500MB prepaid data in USD

ICASA SADC 500MB retail tariffs


1GB prepaid data in USD

ICASA SADC 1GB retail tariffs


2GB prepaid data in USD

ICASA SADC 2GB retail tariffs


Prices within BRICS

ICASA also compared South Africa’s data prices to similar packages available in Brazil, China, India, and Russia.

Russia and India were found to have the lowest average prices for prepaid 500MB, 1GB, and 2GB packages.

China’s average prices for the bundles, however, were significantly higher than the other BRICS countries. South Africa placed third in terms of price.

Country 500MB – US$ 1GB – US$ 2GB – US$
Cheapest Average Highest Cheapest Average Highest Cheapest Average Highest
Brazil 5.30 6.64 7.98 10.65 10.91 11.18 14.05 14.48 14.90
China 12.5 28.75 45.00 25.00 57.50 90.00 15.21 70.07 160.00
India 1.90 2.18 2.67 1.03 2.33 2.78 2.72 4.13 4.61
Russia 1.29 1.29 1.29 2.59 2.59 2.59 4.02 4.08 4.14
South Africa 2.63 5.72 7.90 4.89 9.04 12.04 7.15 14.43 19.57

Data prices in Africa

ICASA’s report also included comparisons of Vodacom and MTN data prices in the markets where they operate.

It found that Vodacom and MTN tended to charge more for the same amount of data in South Africa than they did elsewhere in the world.

Only MTN Cyprus was consistently more expensive than MTN South Africa, while MTN Botswana’s prices were in line with domestic prepaid data pricing.

Vodacom South Africa was consistently more expensive than Vodacom and Vodafone’s other operations in Africa.

Vodacom charged the equivalent of $7.35 for a 500MB bundle in South Africa, while Vodacom Tanzania charged $2.25. Vodafone subscribers in Egypt paid around $0.84 for 500MB.

A comparison of MTN’s prepaid data bundle prices in Africa is given in the table below.

Country MTN Prices
500MB – US$ 1GB – US$ 2GB – US$
Afghanistan N/A 4.32 5.76
Benin N/A 7.17 10.76
Botswana N/A 12.53 19.33
Cyprus N/A 18.88 27.15
Ghana 2.22 4.43 7.10
Iran N/A 0.14 0.23
Ivory Coast 1.69 3.37 6.33
Liberia N/A N/A 0.04
Nigeria N/A 3.15 5.04
Rwanda N/A 2.32 N/A
South Africa 7.84 11.95 19.42
Uganda 5.56 8.34 N/A
Zambia 1.69 3.41 6.75

Vodacom’s comparison of 1GB and 2GB data prices is shown in the graphs below.

ICASA Vodacom 1GB retail tariffs

ICASA Vodacom 2GB retail tariffs
Now read: Vodacom and MTN subscribers pay up to 2,600% more for out-of-bundle data

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Vodacom and MTN data prices vs mobile networks in Africa