South African fibre and DSL Internet users have become accustomed to uncapped access online.
This brings with it many benefits, such as unlimited streaming, gaming, and downloads.
Mobile data users do not have the same luxury however, and 1GB of prepaid 30-day data costs around R150 for Vodacom and MTN users.
High mobile data usage therefore brings with it a hefty bill at the end of the month, where this simply isn’t the case with a fixed line.
While ICASA’s recently-implemented out-of-bundle rules ensure that your data usage doesn’t automatically switch to OOB rates, this doesn’t change the fact that substantial data consumption will cost you an exorbitant amount of money.
Rain’s uncapped off-peak bundle
Rain provides some reprieve with its unlimited data deal, where users can access uncapped off-peak mobile data for R250 per month.
This uncapped data is available between 23:00 and 18:00 every day, leaving a five-hour period where users must pay if they wish to use data.
To find out whether this type of offer will grow in the market, MyBroadband spoke to mobile networks about the possibility of offering completely uncapped mobile data packages.
A Vodacom spokesperson said it is possible that in the future uncapped mobile data bundles could come online.
However, it is unlikely to happen any time soon.
“The reality is that without access to requisite spectrum, it would simply strain the network resulting in an inferior experience for customers,” said Vodacom.
“The release of available spectrum at reasonable market related prices will also be instrumental in reducing the cost of carrying a megabyte of data and ultimately in accelerating the decline in effective data prices in South Africa.”
“Spectrum is a limited resource and the ability to offer unlimited data is therefore not possible,” said Jacqui O’Sullivan, executive for corporate affairs at MTN SA.
“However, MTN SA is continuously looking on how customer experience can be enhanced through the use of new technology and capabilities.”
O’Sullivan added that it is theoretically possible that MTN could launch a product similar to Rain’s uncapped off-peak data package, but it is not planning such a package in the near future.
“With limited spectrum available, options are limited – however, we are gearing up the network to enable new spectrum which we look forward to being made available in the future.”
Rain CMO Khaya Dlanga said that completely uncapped Rain mobile data packages are not out of the question.
“We explore all possibilities that could give South Africans affordable access to the Internet and we continue to innovate to make that a reality,” said Dlanga.
Dlanga added that Rain believes its current unlimited off-peak offering is sustainable.
“We are solely focused on being a data network, and we have employed the latest technology to ensure our costs are as low as possible.”