The mobile networks that offer the best value in South Africa

The mobile networks that offer the best value in South Africa

It’s that time of the cycle again – your contract is expiring and you’re interested in looking for a new mobile network provider. But, which one is going to offer you the best in value? There are four main networks in South Africa: Vodacom, Cell C, Telkom, and MTN – with smaller ones offering data bundles and airtime deals such as Rain and Me&You.

With so many options on offer, it’s difficult for the average South African to decide which mobile network offers the best in smartphones, data prices, connectivity, contract features, and more. Mobile Store takes a look at each network and compares what they can offer you - from the cheapest data bundles in South Africa to the service rate and customer satisfaction - to help make your choice easier.

Best internet speeds - Winner: MTN

With great infrastructure, amazing consumer feedback, and offering the highest speeds possible, MTN is a clear winner in the speed war. According to MyBroadband Insights, the perfect network for high-speed internet in South Africa is MTN. The network took first prize for speed after thousands of speed tests were conducted in the first quarter of 2022 in all of South Africa’s major cities.

The tests collected resulted with MTN on top, offering an average of 64 Mbps for download speeds and 22 Mbps for upload speeds. East London was the only location tested where MTN came out in second place, with Vodacom taking the top spot. So, between Vodacom and MTN - you're in good hands if you're a high-speed (internet) junkie.

Best bundles and extras - Winner: Telkom

Telkom is an excellent choice for mobile users looking for a blend of data, minutes, airtime, and SMSes. For example, Telkom’s FreeMe 6 GB contract provides 6 GB of data, 1,000 talking minutes, and 400 free SMSes. Most of Telkom’s contracts also include extras.

This particular deal offers 200 extra minutes for calls across all networks, as well as 20 GB of free once-off data. Telkom offers value for money and a good blend for mobile users who enjoy the ease and benefits of data, minutes, and SMS. And, if you need to top up your account with additional data, you can easily do so on the app!

For those not looking for big amounts of data, you can get plans starting with 1GB from the provider. Generally, in terms of coverage and price - Cell C and Telkom are our top winners.

Cheapest data deals - Winner: Me&You

As we all know, the demand for data significantly increased in the midst of the pandemic - 30-day data bundles were getting finished in less than 2 weeks, therefore a solution was needed - and that solution came in the form of Me&You. 

A new contender among the big leagues - this small but fierce mobile network has the cheapest data deals, meaning you get more for less – and we all know how expensive data can be! Because they offer SIM-only deals, Me&You doesn’t include the hefty cost of a phone into a contract price.

Best top-up mobile data contracts - Winner: Vodacom

Vodacom has a wide range of contracts for data, airtime, minutes, and SMSes that are also on offer for topping up. If you have a contract but you’ve already run out of your data or minutes before the month has ended, you can simply purchase a once-off top-up that will expire at the end of that month. Top-up contracts are ideal for those who are on their phone a lot and perhaps use their phone for work. 

Most affordable contract - Winner: Vodacom Red Flexi 70 

If you are looking for a basic phone contract with an entry-level smartphone and a small airtime allowance, the Vodacom Red Flexi contract is for you. Starting from R70 per month for 24 months, you can get R70 worth of airtime each month with an entry-level phone. There are other entry-level phones on offer at a higher price, but this is the most affordable one on the market for budget-conscious mobile users.

5 things to look for when choosing a mobile network

The best mobile network is the one that suits your individual needs. Here are 5 things to look for when choosing a mobile network:

1. Connection reliability

Calls dropping and a poor internet connection can be frustrating, especially if you're in the middle of an important call or trying to get some work done. Choose a network with a good reputation for reliability.

2. Value for money

Data, airtime, and SMS rates can vary significantly between networks. Make sure you compare the rates before signing up for a contract.

3. Extras and perks

Some networks offer extras like free data or minutes on certain days of the week, or discounts on partner products and services. If you frequently use your phone for work or pleasure, these extras can be very useful.

4. Customer service

If you have any problems with your service, it's important to know that you can rely on your network's customer service team to help you out. Choose one with good reviews for their customer service.

5. Coverage

Make sure the provider you choose has good coverage in the areas you frequent the most. No one likes being out and about and suddenly without a network connection, especially when it's time to upload those glam Insta-worthy shots! 

What does a bad network look like?

A bad mobile network can be frustrating and costly. Here are some signs that you might be on a bad signal:

1. Frequent dropped calls: What's the point of having a phone if you can't even rely on it to make calls? If you find yourself frequently disconnected, it might be time to switch.

2. Poor internet connection: We all rely on our phones for internet access these days, so a bad connection can be a real pain. If your phone's internet is constantly slow or unreliable, consider switching.

3. High rates for data, airtime, and SMS: If you're paying through the nose for data, it might be time to look for a better deal. Compare the rates of different networks to see who offers great value for money.

4. Poor customer service: If you've been trying to get help from your network's customer service team and not getting anywhere, it might be time to switch providers. Look for a network with good reviews for their customer service.

5. Inadequate coverage in your area: If you frequently have no signal or poor internet connection, it might be because your network doesn't have good coverage in your area. Check the coverage maps of different mobile providers to see who offers great coverage where you live and work.

Browse through the best networks and offers in South Africa with Mobile Store!

It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, Mobile Store has it ready and waiting for you. Through hundreds of contracts and packages across five networks and four smartphone brands, Mobile Store has the deal for you.

Don't be left behind; order your new smartphone contract with your favourite mobile network online from Mobile Store today!