Mobile data is often considered to be expensive by the average South African, especially as devices become more data-hungry every year.
Although using data for entertainment such as browsing the Internet, watching videos, and streaming music are great, many South Africans cannot afford the data required.
Many of them, however, still require data to stay in touch with their families and friends.
In recent years, South Africans have moved away from phone calls and SMSs to WhatsApp for due to its cheaper price.
The platform offers the ability to instantly send text, images, and video, while the additions of WhatsApp’s voice and video calls have proven to be popular on packages where data is more superfluous than airtime.
WhatsApp requires mobile data for all these features, however, and to accommodate this, most of South Africa’s mobile operators offer their customers standalone WhatsApp data bundles at more affordable rates than standard data bundles.
Both Vodacom and MTN have WhatsApp bundles which are valid for a day or week. Vodacom and Cell C customers can also purchase a 1GB monthly bundle which is valid for 30 days.
MTN’s biggest WhatsApp bundle offers the same amount of data but is only valid for 20 days.
A number of other options are available from these operators. The table below shows the prices of various once-off WhatsApp data bundles from Vodacom, MTN and Cell C.
|Three Day Bundles|
|Two Week Bundles|
|Cell C||500MB||15 Days||R19|
|Cell C||1GB||30 Days||R29|
Telkom was not included in this comparison, as it does not offer any standalone WhatsApp bundles. However, the operator provides data for instant messaging (IM) services on its prepaid FreeMe bundles which can be used for WhatsApp messaging.
The top three most-affordable Prepaid FreeMe bundles are as follows:
- FreeMe 150MB – R29 – 150MB of IM data, valid for 14 days
- FreeMe 250MB – R39 – 250MB of IM data, valid for 14 days
- FreeMe 1GB – R100 – 500MB of IM data, valid for 61 days
Additionally, signing up for a FreeMe 1GB contract with Telkom will give you free WhatsApp calling and messaging, with a 2GB Fair Usage Policy cap.