South African mobile data is 134% more expensive compared to BRICS countries

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One of the biggest trending hashtags recently is #DataMustFall.

The campaign to lower the high cost of mobile data has attracted support from celebrities, NGOs, politicians and thousands on social media.

But just how high are mobile internet prices in South Africa when compared to the rest of the world? Do we actually have a legitimate complaint?

According to mobile phone package tracker Tariffic, South Africa has the 2nd highest data contract prices compared to comparative countries, coming second only to Brazil.

Information about contract pricing was gathered from Brazil, Russia, India and China, as well Kenya and Australia – and then compared to contract prices across all of the South African mobile network operators.

But in order to get accurate readings for internet packages, all figures were rebased against the “Cost of Living index” – just to keep things fair.

“Once prices were converted to Rands and re-based for the Cost of Living, South Africa was consistently the 2nd most expensive for 1 GB, 2 GB, and 3 GB data contracts, with Brazil being the most expensive in all 3 cases. Data prices for South Africa were on average 134% more expensive than the cheapest prices in the group.”

Tariffic’s CEO Antony Seeff explained that the government and all involved need to step up their game and ensure that things become a lot cheaper for South Africans.

“We have seen that prices in South Africa are still more expensive than 5 of the other comparable countries in our study, and we implore mobile network operators, ICASA, and even government to do whatever they can to ensure that data prices do fall.”


“The biggest pitfalls when it comes to data is to make sure you’re on the right data packages and/or bundles, and to ensure that you don’t go out of bundle,” Seef explained.

Charlie Fripp

Charlie Fripp

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.