Cheapest 4G and 5G smartphones in South Africa

South African residents can buy a 4G-capable smartphone for as little as R599, while pricing for 5G devices in the country starts at R2,299.

With the government planning to switch off the country’s 2G and 3G networks by 31 December 2027, South African residents who want to stay connected must have a 4G or 5G-enabled device.

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) recently extended the deadline for shutting down these legacy networks by two years, giving mobile operators more time to help subscribers migrate.

The government had previously planned to shut down South Africa’s 2G network by June 2024 and the 3G network by March 2025.

However, after consulting with mobile network operators, the deadlines were extended, and carriers were given more freedom in planning the shutdown of their legacy networks.

While the final date is 31 December 2027, the government plans to start shutting down these old networks on 1 June 2025. It will leave it up to mobile network operators to decide which network shutdown they prioritise.

“This deadline is meant to allow mobile network operators some level of discretion and for them to decide which network to switch off first,” the department told MyBroadband.

“Some operators have indicated that they will commence with the shut down of 3G in June 2024 in support of the policy.”

“The total shutdown of the 2G and 3G networks is scheduled for 31 December 2027,” it added.

However, the department noted that these dates depend on the outcomes of a risk assessment study to be published within a year of the final next-generation radio frequency spectrum policy’s publication.

It indicated that the extension resulted from stakeholder feedback.

“Subsequent to the spectrum policy that was published in September 2022, the Department received substantive inputs from the public including industry members and services sectors,” it said.

“The Minister took into consideration public comments and inputs that requested an amendment to the timelines for the shutdown of the 2G and 3G networks.”

Cheapest 4G and 5G smartphones in South Africa

MyBroadband looked for the most affordable 4G and 5G-enabled smartphones on offer in South Africa.

We found several 4G-capable handsets priced between R599 and R799, while the 5G options range from R2,299 to R5,150.

These devices aren’t the best-specced when it comes to memory, storage, and chipset hardware. However, they offer affordable access to 4G and 5G connectivity.

The cheapest 4G options we found are the Hisense U31, Hisense U607, Mobicel Force, and Vodacom Kicka 5 Plus. All of the 4G options are SIM-locked to specific mobile networks.

PEP sells the Hisense U31, Hisense U607, and Vodacom Kick 5 Plus for R599, while Ackermans sells the Mobicel Force for the same price.

Those who opt for the Hisense U607 or Vodacom Kick 5 Plus will be locked to Vodacom’s network, while those who buy a Hisense U31 from PEP can only use MTN’s network.

Ackermans’ listing for the Mobicel Force notes that it is network-locked but doesn’t specify which network.

Regarding 5G-capable devices, the cheapest smartphone available to those living in South Africa is the ZTE Blade A72 for R2,299 from Makro.

For just under R800 more, customers can get the Hisense Infinity H60 5G from Takealot, while those willing to fork out a little more buy the Hisense H50s 5G for R3,399 from Bob Shop.

The least affordable 5G-enabled smartphone listed is the Honor X8 5G, which is available from Bob Shop for just under R5,150.

Some of the most affordable 4G and 5G smartphones available in South Africa are listed below with pricing.

Hisense U31 (4G, MTN-locked) — R599 (PEP)

Hisense U607 (4G, Vodacom-locked) — R599 (PEP)

Mobicel Force (4G, locked but network not specified) — R599 (Ackermans)

Vodacom Kicka 5 Plus (4G, Vodacom-locked) — R599 (PEP)

Itel V52 (4G, Vodacom-locked) — R699 (PEP)

Hisense U963 (4G, Vodacom-locked) — R699 (Ackermans)

Mobicel Neo Plus (4G, Vodacom-locked) — R729 (Technomobi)

Hisense U964 (4G, Vodacom-locked ) — R799 (Takealot)

ZTE Blade A72 (5G) — R2,299 (Makro)

Hisense Infinity H60 (5G) — R3,008 (Takealot)

Hisense H50s (5G) — R3,399 (Bob Shop)

Tecno Spark 10 (5G) — R4,499 (Takealot)

Nokia G42 (5G, MTN-locked) — R4,499 (Takealot)

Samsung Galaxy A25 (5G) — R4,900 (Bob Shop)

Samsung Galaxy A34 (5G) — R5,000 (Bob Shop)

Honor X8 (5G) — R5,148.97 (Bob Shop)

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments


Share this article
Cheapest 4G and 5G smartphones in South Africa