Cell C slashes out-of-bundle data rate to 15c/MB - TechCentral

Cell C slashes out-of-bundle data rate to 15c/MB

Jose Dos Santos

Cell C is moving to address growing political, regulatory and consumer pressure on the industry over the expiry of data and high out-of-bundle data prices by slashing prices and relaxing expiry rules.

The mobile operator, South Africa’s third largest after Vodacom and MTN, said the move is mean to tackle “two of the major issues faced by data customers”.

“The way customers consume data has changed and as a business, to remain customer focused, we need to adapt our own rules and processes to better meet their needs,” said CEO Jose Dos Santos.

As a first step, the company will be reducing its out-of-bundle data rate for prepaid customers on its lowest tariff plan to 15c/MB, effective from 1 October 2017. That works out to an effective R150/GB out of bundle.

The company, which recently completed a restructuring and recapitalisation under which Blue Label Telecoms and Net1 UEPS Technologies have together invested R7.5bn in the business, said its 66c prepaid product is getting the reduced out-of-bundle charges.

Customers must opt in to the lower charges by dialling *147# and selecting option 1, it said. They are able to bolt on data bundles, too, said Dos Santos.

Post-paid customers are also catered for, he said, with the Connector plans offering the new 15c/MB out-of-bundle rate.

Data expiry

At the same time, Cell C said it is moving to address the expiry of unused data by allowing customers to extend the validity of their data bundles by purchasing a new bundle before the current one expires.

From 20 September, customers can extend the validity of their data bundles indefinitely by simply purchasing another data bundle before the current one expires. Bundles start at R29 for 100MB.

On the 10GB, 20GB and 30GB data bundles, Cell C has extended the validity period from 30 days to 90 days. However, this still falls far short of the controversial expiry period of two years proposed by communications regulator Icasa for data bundles of 20GB and larger.

From October 2017, contract SmartData customers will automatically have unused data carried over to the next month, effectively extending the validity of their data from 30 days to 60 days.

“These are just the first steps for Cell C to make it easier for customers to ensure that they can carry over unused data. We will be looking at innovative ways to ensure that customers get what they are looking for, while at the same time ensuring that we constantly invest in network quality,” said Dos Santos in a statement. — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media


  1. Why is “cellular” data more expensive than other data? Is there a difference? Why do i pay R599 for 400 gigs from my ISP vs R169 per month from Vodacom for 2 gigs?

    Im all ears….

  2. Well, Magic, it works like this …

    Normal data … hmm … lets call them bunnies – data-bunnies run through cables and come to your house that way. So they can run with their normal bunny-legs.

    But Cellular data-bunnies cannot use the cables and have to fly through the air. So there is one extra step in data-bunny education necessary – these bunnies need to be taught to fly! This is the expensive part. They fly by flapping their bunny-ears and not all data-bunnies can attain this skill. So they can charge more carrots per flight than the landline bunnies.

    A vicious circle I tell you! And how do I know all this? I once ate one of you guys and hallucinated that I was in the training program to become ear-flappy-bunny …

    Have a magic day
    and send a shroom my way!

  3. I copied and past this but think is fairly accurate.
    Copper (element) is a better conductor than air. It it is easy to get lots of Mbps on a phone line or coax line; it is hard to do that over air.
    As a result of that, the chips (headend & client) are cheaper.
    Phone lines & coax are point-point, that means that total amount of capacity is vastly greater to share out. Wireless bandwidth is a scarce resource, a few Mbps are shared between everyone in a cell
    Infrastructure invested over decades; infrastructure invested now that needs to be paid for now. Those phone lines cost a lot to lay, but spread over a long time & now fully depreciated they are “free”. Building a basestation or WiFi node costs money now – and it will be obsolete in 5 years so you need to recover that capital expenditure quicker.
    Phone & cable modem headend (where the wires go) exist, and they are in “the right place”. Fibre goes to phone exchangers, central office & cable TV nodes (because that is how the phone calls & TV work). Again, already paid for. Basestations need new infrastructure, new connectivity.
    The above describes DSL or Cable-Modem. Fibre is new investment, it is expensive, and it happens slowly. Many parts of the country, and the vast majority of the world, do not have fibre and will not have it for decades, precisely because the economics are hard.
    Cellular can go further (higher power) but needs to buy spectrum & basestations are expensive. WiFi has cheaper basestations, no spectrum cost, but power is restricted so only short range. The balance between these two is complex, and it is “a bit of both” is best.

    These are not “either/or”

    In some places fibre happens & is cheap.

    For much of developed world, fibre is happening slowly, and DSL/cable is cheapest.

    For some people, wireless is cheaper. “cutting the cord”, “LTE for broadband”, “mobile only” are not amjority but they are perfectly viable broadband techniques.

    In the developing world, with less copper, then “leapfrog” to mobile only is the norm.

  4. listen up: whenever I go overseas, it costs me $5… $5 for UNLIMITED data for 30 days. No one gives a crap about mobile data there in the UK or US. so Cell C can take a bloody hike with it’s ‘slashed’ prices.

  5. pls provide a link to the mobile operators data pricing plans you use in the US or UK please

  6. “the company will be reducing its out-of-bundle data rate for prepaid customers on its lowest tariff plan to 15c/MB, effective from 1 October 2017. That works out to an effective R150/GB out of bundle.”

    Either their maths is wrong, or they’re assuming 1 000 megs in a gig, instead of the actual 1 024. Which means you’re losing out on 24 megs every gig… and probably 24 k every meg, and probably 24 bytes every k. 😛