Vodacom hints at broadband price cuts - TechCentral

Vodacom hints at broadband price cuts

Vodacom Group CEO Pieter Uys

Vodacom has hinted that it will cut data prices in the next few weeks as competition in SA’s mobile industry hots up.

The telecommunications group’s CEO, Pieter Uys, hinted at looming reductions in mobile broadband prices while launching Vodacom’s new 43Mbit/s network at a function in Pretoria on Saturday.

“The cost of using the Internet will come down,” Uys says, adding that price reductions will form part of the operator’s three-pronged plan to expand and increase network coverage and speeds, improve service and offer better value to consumers.

“The value started last week, and there will be a lot more coming in the next days, weeks and months,” he says, referring to Vodacom’s decision to cut the price of 2GB bundles (including 2GB of additional bandwidth late at night) for R149/month as a promotional exercise.

The 2GB plus 2GB special exactly matches the price charged by Cell C for 2GB of data, escalating the war between the two operators. Vodacom and Cell C have engaged in increasingly rancorous competitive exchanges in recent weeks that culminated in a hearing at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week. Cell C, which lost at the ASA, will switch on the first leg of its 42Mbit/s network in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Uys says the special will last for three months only but promised new prices across its portfolio of products soon. “We are working on our other products, so we will get together again to talk about the rest,” he says.

Uys used Saturday’s event to show an internal Vodacom video to journalists that disparages Cell C’s new — and now withdrawn — television advertisement featuring comedian Trevor Noah comparing Vodacom’s network to an old sports car and Cell C’s to a modern Ferrari. Instead of Cell C’s “Whoooosh” pay-off line, the Vodacom video says “Shoooosh” and generally takes the mickey out of Cell C’s campaign. Uys says the video is not meant for broad public consumption and has declined to provide a copy to TechCentral for publication.

Meanwhile, Vodacom has officially launched its new 43,2Mbit/s network, with 1 000 base stations now active. A further 1 000 base stations will be switched over in the next six weeks. Johannesburg, SA’s largest city, will be included in next month’s upgrade. Consumers shouldn’t expect to get 43,2Mbit/s, which is a theoretical speed — in real-world conditions, Vodacom says speeds will average between 6Mbit/s and 9Mbit/s. New broadband dongles are also needed. A USB version costs about R1 300, and is “free” on contracts of 1GB/month or more.

Vodacom has 4 200 active third-generation base stations.

At the same time, Vodacom is extending its own fibre-optic network to connect its base stations. It expects to have about 2 000 base stations hooked up to its own fibre by the end of the first quarter of 2012.  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral


  1. Well I hop these broadband price cuts do not come with 24 month contracts that can be cancelled after 13 months (if you read the small print).

    Nothing worse than a company playing coy with its pricing. You can’t be half on and half off the bus!

    Despite these reservations, I am delighted that at last there will be some competition in the market on broadband data between the two key players well done Vodacom & big hugs to Cell C.

    MTN & 8ta can continue to fade into commercial insignificance. (I guess its a management thing!)

  2. Thank you CellC. I am very sceptical about any Vodacom Contract offers – there’s always a catch. I am staying with Whoooosh – all the way.

  3. You’ve been weight
    you’ve been measured
    and you’ve been found wanting.

    Vodacom needs to rethink their strategy on how to win back public opinion. Changing your colors from blue to red wont erase the fact that you over charged your customers while playing the “unsustainable card”.

    Sorry Mr Uys I will rather lean towards Cell-C.

  4. How about Vodacom just fixes it’s current pathetic network performance? In the last 2-3 weeks I (and many others I know) have suffered from terrible signal and massive drop outs…. Please get the basics right first.

  5. John H. Mitchell on

    I would settle for my link just working here in the Gardenroute. I have to chat to my wife over skype instead of using voice over skype when I’m out to sites. These are big cities like George, Knysna and Mosselbay for crying out loud!

    I welcome this price decrease, but what AlanA is saying is very true, just get what you have working first!


  6. @BritinSA I think that the point about MTN is a good one.

    They have certainly lost mindshare in the broadband debates and have become almost invisible in innovation and engaging advertising.

    To get this market really competitive, MTN has to come to the party and get aggressive in a meaningful way. They have always defaulted to the comfortable position. Its time MTN – Sifiso, make your mark and bring MTN back into the data/innovation market.

  7. Jaco Steyn on

    ….but this will be totally useless if they do not keep their towers in services and functional.

    I always had a brilliant signal where I stay, but since middle Jan we can not even take calls properly. If I log calls at their service desk, a firneldy person call and promise a person from “Networks” will call me. well, since ealy March none of my three calls where answered yet!

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