Rain recently launched its Uncapped 4G for Phones bundle, which provides customers with unlimited 4G data at R379 per month on a month-to-month contract.
However, this contract with some restrictions. You can only stream in up to 360p, you cannot use your phone as a hotspot, and the bundle only works on 4G phones.
This bundle is a step up from Rain’s famous 19-hour uncapped bundles, which cost R250 per month and give users access to uncapped data except between 18:00 and 23:00.
The 19-hour bundle proved extremely popular, and Rain will be hoping that smartphone users will be similarly impressed with its Uncapped 4G for Phones bundle.
Uncapped 4G is rare
Rain’s uncapped 4G bundles are interesting because South Africa’s other mobile networks – MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, and Telkom – do not offer comparable deals.
The only way to get uncapped 4G data on these networks is through extremely expensive phone contracts, which also include the price of the smartphone, as well as minutes and SMSes.
Now that Rain has brought out this new product, MyBroadband asked South African mobile networks if they plan to follow suit and launch uncapped mobile data packages.
MTN said that it believes the licencing of high demand spectrum will play a crucial role in helping network operators to meet customers’ demands in “an ever-growing data environment”.
It said this would not only involve uncapped data plans, but also “broader services”.
“As the need for the customers change, so will the structure of our plans,” said MTN.
“We are constantly looking to improve our offerings to accommodate these needs and customers should anticipate more value from our offerings.”
MTN also noted that it once offered uncapped data plans known as Uncapped Broadband that had a fair use policy.”
“As the need of customers progressed over time, so did those plans, which was purely data,” it explained.
MTN said it currently offers the MTN Sky Black plan, which is a mobile plan that includes uncapped data.
Vodacom told MyBroadband that spectrum availability is the biggest inhibitor to mobile networks offering uncapped data offerings.
“Given that spectrum is a finite resource, unlimited propositions have a negative impact on customer experience in general if demand is not matched by network capacity,” said Vodacom.
It explained that the most cost-effective way to boost network capacity is through increased access to the right spectrum.
“COVID-19 has changed the mobile network landscape, and we have seen significant growth in data consumption since lockdown,” said Vodacom.
“In the interests of consumers, we encourage ICASA to expedite the ensuing auction process in a manner that will ensure continued quality service delivery.”
Despite the spectrum issue, Vodacom said it is planning to bring “unmatched mobile data bundles to customers” and will announce details in due course.
While it did not confirm if this will include uncapped offers, it said that its propositions will be “aligned with ongoing consumer demand, and backed by sound research.”
Cell C explained that its product offerings are informed by consumer insights into market demands. Currently, she said that Cell C customers see value in buying fixed value bundles at the right prices.
Cell C said that it always looks at services and products that give its users the best experience on their network.
“This may include uncapped bundles in the future as well as single URL bundles to enjoy specific content services,” said Cell C.
It noted that the allocation of spectrum will provide Cell C with the flexibility to increase the volume of data that it carries on its network, as well as how it can price this data.
It said that uncapped data bundles are just one of the ways that consumer needs for increased data volume can be catered to.
“Another option is to relook the pricing of our portfolio of large bundles as we get incremental capacity through additional spectrum.”