South Africa’s Independent Communications Authority (ICASA) this afternoon released its annual analysis of prepaid retail voice and data tariffs for the period 01 April 2015 to 30 September 2015, and if you are on a Vodacom pre-paid package, things aren’t looking too great.
In terms of voice tariffs, Vodacom is by far more expensive than MTN, Cell C and Telkom. From ICASA’s own graph below, Vodacom is R1.20 per minute, while the next-most expensive is MTN at R0.79.
ICASA further broke down what it costs to make a call on each network, from half a second to 5 minutes. Once again, at the top end of the scale Vodacom was the most expensive for a five-minute call, clocking in at just over 150% of MTN’s cost for a call of the same duration.
While call costs are important to users on pre-paid packages, data is as much a deciding factor in selecting a network provider.
In terms of pre-paid data between the four mobile operators, MTN is the most expensive when buying a 100MB bundle. As the bundle sizes increase, Vodacom consistely remains second most-expensive (except for 250MB bundle – where it is the most expensive), with MTN taking the lead again from 500MB onwards.
To visually illustrate the actual price per megabyte, the chart below shows how it becomes cheaper per megabyte as the bundles become bigger. Once you get to 20GB in data, the prices among the four network operators are the same.
Speaking of pre-paid data, if you are on Vodacom don’t even think of going out of bundle, as Vodacom’s costs are more than double the price per megabyte compared to the others. You’re looking atR2 per Vodacom MB, while that same megabyte on MTN and Cell C goes for R0.99, while Telkom’s 1MB costs R0.29.
As the chart shows below, the further you go out of bundle, the cheaper per megabyte becomes.
While the tariffs are for everyday users, ICASA did warn that expenses might be different for users who made use of promotions and/or bundles which were available in the market, and might “…have experienced a reduction in headline tariffs paid between 01 April 2015 and 30 September 2015.”