How you can save 33% in prepaid #mobiledatacosts by just buying from the right channel

The article by Arthur Goldstuck in yesterday’s Sunday Times, Business Times inspired this post.

In his article, Arthur encourages corporates to take steps to cut down their mobile airtime costs by more than 30% by ensuring that correct cellphone contracts are taken out for employees based on associated usage patterns. As he pointed out, there is a combined total of 9 700 cellphone contract permutations that are on offer by South Africa’s mobile operators, which is unbelievable! Go to our Digi-DIY Tips page to see how corporates can select most appropriate cellphone contracts for their employees and thereby bring down their airtime contract costs.

Now about this post. I have written a lot on the subject of mobile data costs since 2011. My bone of contention has been and still is South Africa’s high cost per meg. To date I have looked at data costs between Mzansi’s mobile operators, and did comparative analysis against Kenya and Nigeria. On my recent trip to India, I found out that 5GB of prepaid data from Vodafone India costs R199.68, and this is half the current promotion price of Vodacom South Africa – at today’s exchange rate of 1 ZA Rand = 6,26 Indian Rupees! Clearly, Mzansi’s mobile operators are creaming it when compared to the other key developing markets.

I have now also discovered that you may end up paying more for Cell C data depending on the channel you use. Let me illustrate what I mean:

  • Cell C prepaid data packages as at 28/10/13 – accessible through FNB Internet Banking:
<img src="CellC_Prepaid_Data_Packages_from_FNB_Internet_Banking.png" alt="Cell C Prepaid Data Packages from FNB Internet Banking">
Cell C Prepaid Data Packages from FNB Internet Banking – 28/10/13

Notice that the size of Cell C data bundle you can buy for R400 is 67% bigger when using USSD. Looked at from a different angle, 3GB will cost you 33% more if you buy it using FNB Internet banking. As the two screen shots show, purchase of data using Internet banking is more convenient. However, the premium paid for convenience may be too high when compared to USSD option.

Do all mobile operators have different prepaid data price structures for different sales channels?

The lesson here is that you must shop around for best mobile data deals, not only between mobile operators but also between the various sales channels used by a chosen mobile operator.



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