South Africa’s ‘expensive’ internet put to the test


Prices for uncapped domestic fiber and prepaid mobile data in South Africa compare reasonably well with some of the world’s largest economies, a MyBroadband analysis has shown.

These include two other African countries with growing fiber connectivity and well-established mobile networks, and seven international destinations popular with South African expats and travelers.

For our first comparison, we looked at fiber prices.

We used the price of a home fiber plan with a download speed of 50 Mbps from the most popular ISPs and the largest fiber network operators in those countries.

With the exception of Kenya where we used a 40Mbps line as it was the closest comparable speed available.

We then divided the prices by the maximum bandwidth to get a cost per Mbps, allowing a direct comparison.

Our results showed that South Africa was the fifth cheapest country out of the ten countries in the sample, at R18 per Mbps.

The country edged out Canada, Kenya and Australia, each with prices slightly above R20 per Mbps.

The cheapest in our comparison turned out to be the Netherlands, at R11 per Mbps, followed closely by the United Kingdom with R13 per Mbps and the United States with R14 per Mbps.

The graph below shows how the prices per Mbps stack up between the countries we have considered.

For the mobile data comparison, we have decided to use only the prices of the prepaid data plans of the largest mobile networks in each country, with 1 GB being the target allocation.

In cases where we couldn’t find a 1GB plan, we used the closest plan by size and split it down to get a price per GB.

Notably, our comparison found that small prepaid mobile data plans were significantly cheaper in Africa per gigabyte than overseas.

In Nigeria, where MTN is the largest operator, a 1.5 GB plan costs 1000 naira (38.48 Rand), or about 26 Rand per GB, making the country the cheapest market among those we analyzed. .

Safaricom, owned by Vodacom in Kenya, was also very affordable, with a 2 GB data plan costing 500 Kenyan shillings (R 71), or just over R 35 per GB.

South Africa was significantly more expensive than these two countries, with Vodacom charging R85 for a 1GB prepaid data plan.

However, it was far from the prices of developed countries in other parts of the world.

AT&T in the US, for example, charges $ 10 (R160) for a 1GB add-on plan to most of its prepaid plans.

Those looking to purchase a 1 GB prepaid data plan in Canada have even worse, however, at $ 30 CAD (R378) for an additional 1 GB plan on the Bell network.

However, it should be noted that many operators surveyed outside of Africa had unlimited data SIM cards that offered better value for money than most capped offerings, often with voice minute and SMS message allowances included.

For example, in the United States, AT&T offers an unlimited starter plan for $ 35 (R 560) per month, which includes unlimited voice, texting, and data. Allowances are also valid in Mexico and Canada.

In South Africa, Rain offers an uncapped 4G SIM card for mobile phones at R 299 per month, excluding voice minutes and SMS.

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