South Africa’s major mobile operators are often the first to get the latest officially-launched smartphones from manufacturers.
They also offer contract packages with data and airtime which provide customers the option of paying the smartphone off over two or three years while also being able to use the network.
Operators tend to align the prepaid price tags of their smartphones with the recommended retail prices of the manufacturers.
There are, however, specialist online cellphone stores in South Africa, which often offer smartphones at lower prices.
Examples of these include Cellucity, Connected Devices, Hicell, Hi Online, and Technomobi.
Many consumers may have purchased devices from one of these stores through ecommerce giant Takealot, which fulfils orders on some of their devices.
Consumers also have the option to purchase smartphones and other accessories directly from these stores.
We compared the prices of a number of popular budget, mid-range, and flagship smartphones available from these five online stores to see which was the cheapest.
In order to be considered in our comparison, a particular smartphone model had to be available from at least two of the stores.
Our comparison found that for Huawei and Samsung devices, Connected Devices offered the cheapest pricing.
One clear example of this was how it undercuts other stores with a price tag of R11,999 on the P40 5G Dual SIM.
This is R5,000 less than the retail price and R2,800 cheaper than the second most-affordable price on offer at the time from Technomobi.
It should be noted that although Connected Devices holds stock of certain locally-supported models, all of the prices used in this comparison are from its imported stock.
These smartphones are specially ordered for the customer and may, therefore, take longer to deliver than stock which is held locally.
Customers who purchase these devices may also encounter issues or delays when attempting to redeem their warranties.
Connected Devices offers a wide variety of smartphones which aren’t commonly sold in South Africa, such as OnePlus and Google’s Pixel smartphones.
However, it does not offer more affordable, locally-favoured devices such as Hisense and Vivo models.
When it comes to the range of smartphones available which are officially supported in South Africa, Technomobi and Cellucity came out on top, followed by Hi Online and Connected Devices.
Hicell’s offering was fairly limited.
The table below shows a comparison of the prices of various smartphones from the five online smartphone stores.
It should be noted that these prices do not take into account any delivery or shipping fees applicable to the orders.
All devices are for single-SIM versions unless indicated otherwise.
|Online smartphone store comparison|
|Item||Cellucity||Connected Devices||Hicell||Hi Online||Technomobi|
|iPhone 11 Pro 64GB||R25,799||–||R24,799||–||R23,999|
|iPhone 11 Pro 256GB||R29,699||R25,999||–||–||R27,799|
|iPhone 11 Pro Max 64GB||R28,399||–||R29,599||–||R26,399|
|Hisense Infinity H40 Lite||R3,999||–||R4,599||R3,499||R4,299|
|Hisense Infinity H40 Single SIM||R6,499||–||R6,999||R6,999||R6,299|
|Hisense Infinity H40 Rock||R5,199||–||R4,799||R4,999||R5,499|
|Huawei Y7 2019 32GB||R3,799 (Dual SIM)||R3,299 (Dual SIM)||–||R3,499 (Dual SIM)||R2,799|
|Huawei Y6p 64GB||R3,149||–||–||R3,299||R3,149|
|Huawei P40 Lite 5G 128GB||R8,999||R7,499 (Dual SIM)||R8,699||–||R8,999|
|Huawei P40 Lite 128GB||R6,999||R5,499 (Dual SIM)||–||R6,499||R5,999|
|Huawei P40 5G 128GB||R14,999||R11,999 (Dual SIM)||R15,299||R17,499||R14,799|
|Huawei P40 Pro 5G 256GB||R18,999||R17,999 (Dual SIM)||R19,299||–||R18,799|
|LG V50 ThinQ 5G 128GB||R12,699||–||R12,799||–||–|
|LG V60 ThinQ 5G 128GB||R19,399||–||R19,999||–||R19,499|
|LG Velvet ThinQ 5G 128GB||R11,799||–||R11,799||–||R11,999|
|Nokia 2.3 32GB||R2,599||–||–||R2,499||R2,599|
|Nokia C2 16GB||R1,599||–||–||R1,599||R1,599|
|Nokia 5.1 Plus 32GB||–||R3,599 (Dual SIM)||–||R1,999||–|
|Galaxy A31 128GB||R6,199||–||R6,299||R6,999||R5,899|
|Galaxy A51 128GB||R7,949||R6,999 (Dual SIM)||R7,799||R7,999 (Dual SIM)||R7,999|
|Galaxy A71 128GB||R9,899||R9,499 (Dual SIM)||R9,999||R10,999 (Dual SIM)||R9,999|
|Galaxy Note 10 256GB||R17,999 (Dual SIM)||R16,999 (Dual SIM)||R18,699||R19,999||R18,999|
|Galaxy S20 128GB||R20,799 (Dual SIM)||R17,899 (Dual SIM)||R21,299 (Dual SIM)||R18,999||R20,599 (Dual SIM)|
|Galaxy S20+ 128GB||R19,599 (Dual SIM)||R18,899 (Dual SIM)||R23,699 (Dual SIM)||R20,999||R22,999 (Dual SIM)|
|Vivo Y11 32GB||R3,399||–||–||R3,499||R3,299|
|Vivo Y12 64GB||R3,899||–||R3,499||R3,899||R2,799|
|Vivo Y91C 32GB||R2,449||–||R2,199||R2,499 (Dual SIM)||R2,799|
|Xiaomi Redmi 8A 32GB||–||R2,899 (Dual SIM)||–||R2,399 (Dual SIM)||–|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 9s 128GB||–||R4,899 (Dual SIM)||–||R4,699 (Dual SIM)||–|