Mobile networks in South Africa offer a range of mobile data packages – some are good, and others are terrible.
A measure of the value you get from a mobile data bundle is simple to calculate, all other elements – such as network coverage and download speeds – constant.
Users typically look at the size of the data bundle, how much it costs, and how long it lasts.
When it comes to mobile data, the length of time the bundle lasts greatly affects how much the data bundle is. For example, a 2GB bundle valid for 7 days will cost R99, but a 1GB bundle valid for a month will cost R149.
The reason for the price difference is that longer-lasting data makes it more difficult for a mobile network to forecast demand. A short-life data bundle provides the network with a smaller window that resources may have to be allocated to a user.
Price differences also arise when you move from smaller to bigger data bundles, with bigger data bundles cheaper on a per-MB basis. This is because breakage is more likely to take place on a big bundle, which sees the customer not making use of their full data allocation before it expires.
With these factors affecting pricing, consumers have to be on the lookout to ensure they get as much value as possible when buying a data bundle.
A good way to measure value is to look at the effective rate you pay per megabyte. For example: if you buy a 1GB data bundle for R150, you effectively pay 15c per MB – if you use the full bundle before it expires.
To demonstrate how data prices change with size, and which bundles to watch out for, we have calculated the per-MB pricing of 30-day bundles from all the major mobile networks – Vodacom, Cell C, Telkom, and MTN – and detailed the results in the table below.
It must be noted that Rain Mobile does not offer data bundles, and instead charges a flat rate of 5c per MB – and effective R50 per GB.
|Per-MB Data Prices|
|Data Bundle||Price||Price Per-MB|