South Africa has the third highest cellphone call rates in the world, so choosing to compare cellular network service providers can help consumers to decide which cellular network provide the best value for money for their purposes.
South Africa has four major cellular network service providers: Vodacom, Cell C, MTN, Virgin Mobile and the newly introduced 8ta.
Telkom is the major landline phone operator in South Africa, but as more and more people use cellphones, their profits began to dwindle. In response, Telkom have introduced a new mobile network with pricing that is very competitive when compared to the other major cellular network providers. To promote the launch of the business, Telkom will offer 1 free second of airtime credited to the subscriber for each 3 seconds of calls the subscriber receives.
Benefits for 8ta subscribers
- With 8ta, calls to fixed lines cost up to 60% less than the other major providers.
- A flat rate of R2.50 per minute is charged for calls to over 100 international destinations (as is the case for MTN).
- You will be given 50 free SMSs if you send 5 SMSs in one day.
The downside of 8ta
- The charges for data with 8ta are higher than those of Cell C and Virgin Mobile at R1/MB without a bundle.
- Although Telkom plans to build 3200 more base stations across the country, there are currently only 800 stations, meaning that data and voice connectivity may not be as good as other networks which are more connected.
It is difficult to compare cellular network service providers outright as each offers a diverse range of plans and special deals which continually change from time to time. Other issues to consider are connectivity and customer service. For the purposes of this comparison, however, we will look at basic call and sms costs and compare the companies in terms of their rates. It is important to remember that different service providers do offer different benefits such a free minutes and free data, so you need to compare different plans available to see which is the best for your own unique needs.
This table summarises the prepaid plans of the various cellphone network. Contracts differ from provider to provider, so if you would rather subscribe on a contract basis it is best to contact each provider to see what they have available at that time.
|Type of Call||8ta Prepaid||Vodacom 4 U Prepaid||MTN Call Per Second||Cell C easy Chat Allday||Virgin Mobile Prepay|
|Calls to landlines (Peak):||65c||R2.85||R2.89||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to landlines (Off-peak):||65c||R1.12||R1.19||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to 8ta (Peak):||R1.50||R2.99||R2.89||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to 8ta (Off-peak):||R1.50||R1.30||R1.19||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to Vodacom (Peak):||R1.50||R2.85||R2.89||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to Vodacom (Off-peak):||R1.50||R1.12||R1.19||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to MTN (Peak):||R1.50||R2.99||R2.89||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to MTN (Off-peak):||R1.50||R1.30||R1.19||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to Cell C (Peak):||R1.50||R2.99||R2.89||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to Cell C (Off-peak):||R1.50||R1.30||R1.19||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to Virgin (Peak):||R1.50||R2.99||R2.89||R1.50||R0.99|
|Calls to Virgin (Off-peak):||R1.50||R1.30||R1.19||R1.50||R0.99|
|Out of bundle Data:||R1/MB||R2/MB||R2/MB||39c/MB||60c/MB|
Because Telkom is the major landline provider, the company is able to offer landline calls from 8ta at very cheap rates compared to other providers. Like Cell C (on this particular plan), 8ta has a flat call rate of R1, 50. MTN also has a flat rate offer, with calls to all networks at R1.75 per minute.
With so many people using smartphones and data bundles these days, this is often a major concern for consumers. 8ta offers data bundles for R250 for 1GB, compared to MTN’s R289 for 1GB. For more data, Vodacom will charge R289 for 1.2GB. Cell C data bundles are currently far cheaper, but it is not guaranteed that the low prices will remain as such.
As a consumer, competition is a good thing, so take advantage of the battle of the networks to get the best cellphone deals.