Vodacom and the Competition Commission recently reached an agreement which will see the mobile operator cut its mobile data prices by over 30%.
Vodacom’s price cuts, which will kick in on 1 April 2020, will apply to all monthly data bundles for contract and prepaid customers.
A key focus point for mobile data pricing is the 1GB monthly prepaid bundle, which will drop from R149 to R99 per GB.
While these price cuts bring relief to consumers, many people have criticized Vodacom for “not doing enough”.
Telkom group executive of regulatory affairs Siyabonga Mahlangu said Vodacom’s prices after the latest cuts are still “far higher” than what they offer.
This view is shared by SMME Forum and Public Internet SA director Tebogo Khaas, who called the announcement underwhelming.
“Vodacom could have done more. Consumers are on the receiving end of high data pricing, especially in South Africa,” said Khaas.
He said he wants to see local data prices coming in line with international prices – at least in territories where Vodacom operates.
Vodacom CEO responds
Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub responded to the criticism, stating that Vodacom charges more than Telkom for mobile data because it offers a superior service.
Speaking to eNCA, Joosub explained that mobile operators in South Africa have different commercial strategies.
“Telkom’s positioning has always been to try and be the cheapest. Ours is to give the most value and provide a quality service,” said Joosub.
The Vodacom CEO said their value proposition is a balance between coverage, speed, price, and service.
Joosub agreed that Vodacom has always charged a premium compared to Telkom, but said this is justified because they offer a better service.
1GB price comparison
To see how Vodacom and Telkom’s data prices compare, we looked at once-off prepaid 1GB data bundle prices which last for a month.
While there were many comments that Telkom’s prices are lower than Vodacom’s new pricing, Telkom is, in fact, R1 more expensive.
It should be noted that Vodacom’s price is based on its planned price changes, coming into effect 1 April 2020.
Telkom explained that “for the same price of our 1GB product the customer gets more value”, however.
“A Telkom customer gets additional value of 1GB Night Surfer data, that can be used from midnight to 07:00,” the company said.
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