South Africa is known for having some of the highest data costs worldwide. As the world becomes more data-centric, South Africans are finding themselves on the back foot. Some prepaid customers are spending up to 20% of their income on data every month. This may be as a result of data bundles that have expired as well as exorbitant out-of-bundle rates.
Mobile operators offer a wide range of data packages, often spun in different ways to try to convince consumers that they are getting the best mobile data deal.
Consumers often buy into these data deals with the hope that their data will last for the month (that’s if they’ve bought a data bundle that can last throughout the month.)
As a way of encouraging you to buy data bundles, mobile operators usually charge you out-of-bundle rates which are a lot more expensive. So you will be billed out-of-bundle rates if you don’t have a data bundle loaded and you aren’t connected to a Wi-Fi network.
The case of expiring data
In terms of regulations, ICASA has highlighted areas of concern in the South Africa mobile network industry, namely
- Out-of-bundle rates
- Expiry of prepaid and post-paid data bundles
Regulations state that network operators must at the point of sale, inform customers about in and out-of-bundle rates. ICASA has found that expiring data prejudices consumers.
According to research, South Africa has the second highest data contract prices- only second to Brazil in a comparison of data prices in Brazil, Russia, India, China, Kenya and Australia. Data prices in South Africa were on average 134% more expensive than the cheapest prices in the group.
Targeted at data-centric mobile users in South Africa, Rain (formerly Wireless Business Solutions) recently launched and is promising increased connectivity at affordable prices.
Michael Jordaan, director and shareholder said
“Our aim is to deliver the best possible quality and speeds at affordable rates. For example, Rain data will not expire and there will be no out-of-bundle penalties.”
Rain is a new mobile data-first offering.
The offer is set to provide simple, easy and transparent access to data.
This offer of mobile data which does not expire with no out-of-bundle penalties may be quite popular in the South African market.