When it’s cheaper to buy a smartphone from Takealot instead of taking out a contract

Tariffic has released its latest Tracker report, which details what users ultimately pay when taking out a smartphone contract.

The cellphone-bill-optimisation company analysed three subsets of cellphone packages from Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom to calculate how much consumers pay for their handsets over the duration of a contract.

The smartphones looked at were the:

  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (32GB)
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 (64GB)
  • Apple iPhone 7 (32GB)

“The effective amount that customers land up paying over 24 months is calculated by comparing the deal fee against the SIM-only fee for the same package,” said Tariffic.


“The results are astounding. There are cases where you get a great deal on a handset, and receive a substantial subsidy from your network.”

However, in other cases, a user will pay more over 24 months for the device than they would have if “they just bought it retail from Takealot”.

The results show the “biggest subsidised deals are available on the iPhone 7, while MTN and Cell C generally give the largest subsidies”.

“The best subsidy available came from Cell C, who will subsidise an iPhone 7 by nearly R5,500 on a Pinnacle Unlimited package,” said Tariffic.

“The worst deal is from Vodacom, where you will land up paying R19,680 for a Samsung Galaxy S8 on their Smart L+ package, compared to the retail cash price of R13,045 from Takealot.”

The tables below detail Tariffic’s findings.

Calculation note: The subsidy from the network is calculated by subtracting the difference between the deal fee and the SIM-only fee, for each contract, multiplied by 24 months, from the cash price of the hardware. No other additional value was considered.

Low-end Contracts


Mid-to-high-end Contracts


Very-high-end Contracts


Now read: How much Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell C spend on their networks

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When it’s cheaper to buy a smartphone from Takealot instead of taking out a contract