Uncapped vs large capped 4G deals in South Africa — best bang for your buck

There are numerous capped 4G/LTE packages available in South Africa that provide more than enough data for the average household.

Three of the country’s major mobile network operators — MTN, Telkom, and Rain — now offer uncapped 4G packages.

However, most of these products come with fairly stringent throttling policies which limit download and upload speeds after a customer consumes a certain amount of data.

That is not the case with capped 4G packages, where operators offer the maximum possible speed their networks are capable of, but limited usage.

We compared the prices of high-data-allocation 4G packages in South Africa with those of uncapped LTE products to see if they are a good deal.

For the capped packages, we used 10GB as the minimum amount of data needed daily.

That would be enough for streaming Netflix in high definition for about three hours per day while leaving another gigabyte or so to spare for other online activities.

At 10GB consumption per day, subscribers would typically require at least 300GB of data every month.

Additional night-time data offered with many capped LTE packages can be used for downloading updates and other large files overnight, but was not considered as part of the allocation to identify eligible packages.

We found nine products with more than 300GB of data per month from Afrihost, Axxess, MTN, Telkom, and Vodacom.

In Vodacom’s case, we included its so-called “uncapped” Home Internet LTE packages in our comparison.

Unlike their names suggest, these packages are not truly uncapped, as they get hard-locked when users reach a certain amount of consumption.

While the company told MyBroadband it would retract these products over two weeks ago, we found they were still being advertised on its website at the time of publication.

Therefore, these packages were listed among the big-cap LTE products in the table below.

High-allocation capped 4G packages 
Package and network Data allocation Maximum speed, router, and fair usage policy (FUP) Price
400GB
Afrihost Pure LTE — MTN 400GB anytime + 400GB night-time Up to 150Mbps
Fixed
No router
R749
Axxess Pure LTE — MTN 400GB anytime + Uncapped night-time Up to 150Mbps
Fixed
No router
R749
500GB+
Vodacom Home Internet 10Mbps — Vodacom 600GB anytime 0-400GB consumption: Up to 10Mbps
400-600GB consumption: Up to 2Mbps
Fixed
Router included
R399 (x36)
R449 (x24)
Vodacom Home Internet 20Mbps — Vodacom 800GB anytime 0-600GB consumption: Up to 20Mbps
600-800GB consumption: Up to 2Mbps
Fixed
Router included
R599 (x36)
R649 (x24)
1TB
Vodacom Home Internet 30Mbps — Vodacom 1TB anytime 0-400GB consumption: Up to 10Mbps
400-600GB consumption: Up to 2Mbps
Fixed
Router included
R649 (x36)
R699 (x24)
MyMTN Home Capped 4G — MTN 1TB anytime Up to 150Mbps
Fixed
Router included
R849 (x24)
2TB
Telkom — Telkom 2TB anytime Best-effort service
Mobile
No router
R699 (x 12/24)
Axxess LTE — Telkom 2TB anytime Best-effort service
Mobile
No router
R795
Afrihost LTE — Telkom 2TB anytime Best-effort service
No router
Mobile
R797

Upon assessing the capped packages above, we found they generally offer low value compared to uncapped 4G packages.

To illustrate the point, you can look at the example of the 400GB capped MTN package on Afrihost and Axxess for R749 per month.

For R250 less per month, you can get uncapped on the same network with no speed throttling by default, with a free-to-use router included, if you opt for Supersonic’s Fixed-LTE Lite product.

At the higher end, Axxess offers an uncapped data package on MTN’s network that only gets throttled down from its maximum speed of 150Mbps after 1TB of consumption at R779 per month.

The MyMTN Home Capped 4G package with 1TB data costs R70 more than this product, with the same maximum speed and a hard cap.

To get away with a cheaper 1TB plan, you would have to sign up for a 24-month or 36-month contract on Vodacom, which will get you a Home LTE plan that starts throttled at 30Mbps.

The uncapped route, therefore, seems to be the best option in the case of MTN.

If Vodacom or Telkom have the best and most reliable signal in your area, their capped packages are still good value for money.

The table below shows the uncapped 4G packages available on MTN, Telkom, and Rain’s networks in South Africa.

Uncapped 4G packages
Package Fair Usage Policy (FUP) Router included Price
Up to 10Mbps
Axxess Uncapped LTE — Telkom 500GB data@10Mbps
Thereafter 50GB data@4Mbps
Thereafter 2Mbps unlimited data rest of the month
P2P/NNTP type traffic will be further throttled
Bring or buy own starting from R499 First 2 months: R299
Thereafter: R599
MyMTN Home Uncapped 4G — MTN After 400GB usage: Throttled to 2Mbps Free-to-use router on 24-month contract
No month-to-month
R449
Telkom LTE Wireless Unlimited All Hours — Telkom 500GB data@10Mbps
Thereafter 50GB data@4Mbps
Thereafter 2Mbps unlimited data rest of the month
P2P/NNTP type traffic will be further throttled
No, supported in any 4G device R449
Rain Unlimited 4G for any device — Rain None No, supported in any 4G device R499
Afrihost Uncapped LTE — Telkom None Bring or buy own starting from R1,499 R597
Up to 20Mbps
Axxess Uncapped LTE — MTN After 50GB usage: Throttled to 2Mbps Bring or buy own starting from R1,399 R299
Telkom LTE Wireless Unlimited All Hours — Telkom 600GB data@20Mbps
Thereafter 50GB data@4Mbps
Thereafter 2Mbps unlimited data rest of the month
P2P/NNTP type traffic will be further throttled
No, supported in any 4G device R599
MyMTN Home Uncapped 4G — MTN After 600GB usage: Throttled to 4Mbps Free-to-use router on contract
No month-to-month
R649
Axxess Uncapped LTE — Telkom 600GB data@20Mbps
Thereafter 50GB data@4Mbps
Thereafter 2Mbps unlimited data rest of the month
P2P/NNTP type traffic will be further throttled
Bring or buy own starting from R499 R695
Afrihost Uncapped LTE — Telkom None Bring or buy own starting from R1,499 R997
Up to 50Mbps
Axxess Uncapped LTE — Telkom After 100GB usage: Throttled to 2Mbps Bring or buy own starting from R1,399 R349
Up to 100Mbps
Axxess Uncapped LTE — Telkom After 400GB usage: Throttled to 2Mbps Bring or buy own starting from R1,399 R549
Up to 200Mbps
Axxess Uncapped LTE — Telkom After 650GB usage: Throttled to 2Mbps Bring or buy own starting from R1,399 R749
No maximum speed throttle at start
Supersonic Fixed-LTE Lite — MTN After 400GB usage: Throttled to 2Mbps Free-to-use router on month-to-month R499
Axxess Uncapped LTE Pro — MTN After 1TB usage: Throttled to 1Mbps Bring or buy own starting from R1,399 R779
Supersonic Fixed-LTE Premium — MTN After 1TB usage: Throttled to 2Mbps Free-to-use router on month-to-month R899

Now read: Huawei dominates mobile network speeds in South Africa

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Uncapped vs large capped 4G deals in South Africa — best bang for your buck