Data price showdown – Where to get the cheapest gig of data in SA

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The hustle and bustle at the start of the year pertaining to data price reductions appears to be over.

By that we mean that for now data prices appear to be stable though this could change at any moment.

As you might recall, Vodacom and MTN were told in 2019 that they were to reduce the price of their prepaid, 30-day data bundles to make them more affordable.

But while Vodacom and MTN have dropped their prices, those are not the only two mobile network operators in South Africa.

So the question then is, who charges the least for 1GB of data as of 1st July?

For the purposes of this comparison we will be looking at 1GB of data that lasts for 30 days.

30-day bundle price comparison

Operator Data Validity Price Data allocation
Vodacom 30 days R99 1GB
MTN 30 days R99 1GB
Cell C 30 days R100 1GB
Telkom 30 days R100 1GB + 1GB Night Surfer Data (00:00 – 07:00)
rain R50 1GB


It seems that the Competition Commission’s actions didn’t inspire competition but rather just saw network operators bringing the price of a 1GB, 30-day data bundle down to around the same price.

Sure, R99 is cheaper than R100 but that difference is so small we’d hardly call it competitive. The hassle of switching networks is not worth a R1 saving we’re sure you’ll agree.

While rain does have the cheapest price at R50 per GB, that is post paid and you would have to make sure that you don’t go over the limit you set yourself.

Telkom has the best offering what with 1GB for data used between 00:00 and 07:00.

But beyond that it really comes down to a question of which network operator has the best coverage. Drilling down even further, none of the above matters if there is no or poor coverage in your area.

For that reason we urge our readers to start looking at coverage maps from South Africa’s major mobile network operators rather than how much data costs as that matter was addressed earlier this year.

We’ve included links to interactive coverage maps from all of South Africa’s major mobile network operators which you can find the links for, below. As rain’s coverage is less of a map and more of an address checker you should visit the official website and scroll to the bottom of the page.

We are hopeful that the above means that network operators are investing in coverage and network infrastructure, but it’s still early days in this new world of more affordable data so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

It’s also worth noting that selecting your network based on coverage rather than who has the cheapest price is a good thing. For example, we’re sitting in an area with no 4G coverage on the network we use and you know why we’re on that network? The data used to be the cheapest around.

Perhaps it’s time for a change.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.