Mobile network operators in South Africa were recently required to block out-of-bundle data usage by default.
These changes were required by the ICASA End User and Subscriber Service Charter, which also included changes to data rollover, bundle validity, data depletion notifications.
All major local operators made changes to comply with these regulations – however, where other networks prompt users to purchase another data bundle when they run out, Vodacom launched a new service called Data Refill.
This service is available to all Vodacom customers, although it works slightly differently for postpaid and prepaid customers.
Data Refill explained
Data Refill automatically tops up your data balance when your mobile data bundle has been depleted.
Customers can opt into the Data Refill service by dialling *135*6#.
After signing up, prepaid customers who run out of data will be refilled with 10MB of mobile data at a cost of R3. This will continue automatically as they consume data, effectively charging them for data consumption at a rate of R0.30 per MB.
Data Refill works slightly differently for contract customers, however, as they can choose which bundle size to purchase once their data is depleted.
Contract customers can select 100MB, 500MB, or 1GB bundles priced at R29, R80, and R115 respectively, with the cost automatically billed to their monthly account.
“The number of times that a Data Refill will be made on a customer’s account in any given month will be dependent on when the customers reach their Credit Limit Lock or Call Limit Lock,” Vodacom states.
It is important to note that while contract Data Refill bundles are valid for 30 days, the prepaid Data Refill bundles are only valid for 3 days.
To determine whether opting into Data Refill is a good choice for prepaid customers, we compared the price of refill data with conventional mobile data bundles below.
As the Data Refill service essentially charges a flat rate of R0.30 per MB no matter how much data you consume, the price per GB of the refill service is higher than that of prepaid data bundles.
Therefore, if you have to choose between a data refill or buying a new bundle, a new bundle will almost always be the better option.
|Bundle Size||Price||Price per MB|
|Data Refill (3 Days)|
|Once-off Hourly Bundles|
|Once-off Daily Bundles|
|Once-off Weekly Bundles|
|Once-off Monthly Bundles|