Who has the cheapest data bundles in South Africa?

The demand for data during this global pandemic has increased substantially as more people are spending time on their mobile devices whilst working or being isolated at home. The four major networks have reported drastically increased amounts of traffic on their respective networks and they expect these levels to remain unchanged for the duration of the national lockdown (https://mybroadband.co.za/news/cellular/347827-how-mobile-networks-are-dealing-with-the-lockdown.html).

SmartMobile leverages Cell C’s infrastructure to provide cellular services to our clients and we too have seen positive growth in our data consumption on behalf of our clients. These unprecedented times have placed even more importance on the need for data amongst South Africans and we therefore thought it would be appropriate to share the respective cost of data bundles between the major networks and ourselves, showing complete transparency so that our customers and the general public keep informed. All the data bundles referred to below will be prepaid/top-up data bundles with a 30-day validity as to compare apples with apples. Pricing was taken as of the 8th of June 2020.

1GB Data Bundle Comparison

Operator Anytime Data After-Hours Data Price
SmartMobile 1GB R89
Vodacom 1GB R99
Cell C 1GB 2GB* R100
Telkom 1GB 1GB** R100


At a glance, SmartMobile has the cheapest 1GB data bundle for anytime data when compared to the other networks, but it must be mentioned that this doesn’t include any after-hours data like Cell C and Telkom do. There are of course time restrictions on the after-hours data offered by Cell C and Telkom, which means it is often unused and therefore is more of a marketing tool than actually providing their customers with actual value.

*Cell C Nite Data (between 01:00 and 07:00)

**Telkom Night Surfer Data (between 00:00 and 07:00)


SmartMobile’s vision over the last year has been to provide as much value to our customers as we can and with that in mind, we decided to target our data offerings first. We cut all our data prices and added more bundles that suited our customers’ top-up behaviour. With the help of customer feedback and research, we managed to launch the following bundles at the lowest possible prices:

Customers are able to top-up on our website or App using the SnapScan or Ozow payment platforms. The can also purchase Cell C airtime vouchers in-store and then convert their airtime to data via the website, App or USSD at the same rates. There’s no catch or hidden costs. We care about our customers and want to give them the best value for the money, because no one in our country can afford to be wasting money on expensive data.

Vodacom Data Bundles

Vodacom has often been at the forefront of scrutiny in the public eye due to their pricing being more expensive than their competitors. They are the biggest network and claim to be the best and therefore will always be the target of critics, but that being said, Vodacom has done very well in lowering their price of data bundles over time. Below you can see their current 30-day data bundle pricing:

(Source: https://www.vodacom.co.za/)

MTN Data Bundles

MTN is the second largest mobile network in South Africa and is Vodacom’s closest competitor when comes to who has the best network in terms of quality and speed. Naturally, these two giants are consistently in a pricing war and it’s therefore no surprise that MTN and Vodacom have very similar data bundle pricing. See below a list of MTN’s data bundles and their respective pricing:

(Source: https://www.mtn.co.za/recharge/data)

Telkom Data Bundles

Telkom is arguably the newest cellular services entrant into the market having previously only operated in the fixed line telecommunications space. Being a new player, Telkom entered into the market with an aggressive pricing strategy, similar to what Cell C did in their infancy. Below you can see a table of their data bundles:

Anytime Data Night Surfer Data Price
25MB R7.30
50MB R14.65
100MB R29.25
250MB R39.50
500MB R69.60
1GB 1GB R100


(Source: https://secure.telkom.co.za/today/shop/personal/plan/all-networks-1gb-1gb/)

Cell C Data Bundles

Cell is currently running a limited time promotion where it doubles it’s 1GB bundle for the customer, providing great value for their clients. See below for more details on their data bundles and pricing:

(Source: https://www.cellc.co.za/cellc/get-databundles)