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Uncapped mobile data vs fibre — 10Mbps to 100Mbps

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South Africans without fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) coverage or other fixed-line options have a wide range of uncapped LTE and 5G mobile data products to choose from, often at similar or cheaper prices.

Rain started to make a name for itself by being the first mobile network operator to offer uncapped data packages at prices that were considered affordable to many mobile users.

It also became the first to launch a commercial 5G network in the country, offering home users unprecedented speeds above 500Mbps at R999 per month, much more affordable than most comparable fibre products on the market at the time.

In recent years, more established mobile players such as MTN and Telkom have also joined in with their own uncapped data offerings.

MTN, in particular, launched a range of uncapped fixed-LTE products with set speeds of 10Mbps, 20Mbps, and 30Mbps at affordable prices towards the end of 2021.

Not long after that, it followed up with 50Mbps and 100Mbps uncapped 5G packages.

Some of these packages are also resold through Afrihost and Axxess, giving customers the option to buy the packages on a month-to-month basis instead of entering into a long-term contract.

That means customers can cancel packages without a substantial penalty should fibre become available in their area while they have an uncapped mobile data product and wish to switch.

Unfortunately, radio frequency spectrum is still very limited in South Africa, which means mobile networks can suffer heavy congestion if they allow uninhibited use of data.

That means they either have to make uncapped packages relatively expensive to keep the number of users down to a manageable level or implement strict fair usage policies (FUPs) that encourage moderate use of data.

For example, while Axxess offers an uncapped MTN LTE package with speeds of up to 10Mbps for R299, cheaper than comparable symmetric fibre packages, it comes with a low FUP of 50GB.

After the user consumes this data, their connection speed is reduced to 2Mbps.

Nevertheless, this might be sufficient for those who don’t stream and might only require an uncapped package to stay online for work and web browsing.

Fibre packages generally don’t have this limitation as operators are typically not limited by capacity.

Only in exceptional circumstances, such as when certain users abuse their connections to the detriment of others, do they tend to act with an acceptable use policy.

Mobile data vs fibre prices

In the table below, we compared the prices of the cheapest uncapped symmetric and asymmetric fibre packages from major providers and ISPs with affordable uncapped mobile data packages.

The speeds that were available with both types of connections ranged from 10Mbps to 100Mbps.

Uncapped mobile data vs fibre — Prices compared
SpeedISPDownload/UploadTypeFUPPrice
10Mbps
Openserve Web Connect 10MbpsMWEB10/5MbpsFibreNoneR299
MTN Uncapped LTE 10MbpsAxxessUp to 10/10MbpsMobile — LTEAfter first 50GB usage:
Speeds drop down to 2Mbps
R299
Rain Unlimited 4G 24/7RainUp to 10/10MbpsMobile — LTEVideo streaming capped at 360pR479
MyMTN Home Uncapped 10MbpsMTNUp to 10/10MbpsMobile — LTEAfter first 400GB usage:
Speeds drop down to 2Mbps
R499
SamrtBroadband Wireless Unlimited All HoursTelkomUp to 10/10MbpsMobile — LTEAfter 250GB usage:
Speeds drop down to 4Mbps
After 300GB usage:
Speeds drop down to 4Mbps
R749
20Mbps
MTN Uncapped LTE 20MbpsAxxessUp to 20/20MbpsMobile — LTEAfter first 100GB usage:
Speeds drop down to 2Mbps
R349
Openserve Web Connect 20/10MbpsMWEB20/10MbpsFibreNoneR369
MyMTN Home Uncapped LTE 20MbpsMTNUp to 20/20MbpsMobile — LTEAfter first 600GB usage:
Speeds drop down to 4Mbps
R699
25Mbps
Openserve 25MbpsTelkom25/5MbpsFibreNoneR399
Openserve 25MbpsTelkom25/25MbpsFibreNoneR449
Rain 5G BasicRainUp to 25/25MbpsMobile — 5GVideo streaming capped at 720pR499
30Mbps
Frogfoot 30MbpsAfrihost30/3MbpsFibreNoneR527
Frogfoot 30MbpsAfrihost30/30MbpsFibreNoneR627
MyMTN Home Wi-FiMTNUp to 30/30MbpsMobile — LTEAfter first 700GB usage:
Speeds drop down to 4Mbps
R699
50Mbps
Herotel 50MbpsHerotel50/50MbpsFibreNoneR499
MTN Uncapped LTE 50MbpsAxxessUp to 50/50MbpsMobile — LTEAfter first 250GB usage:
Speeds drop down to 2Mbps
R549
Frogfoot 50MbpsMWEB50/5MbpsFibreNoneR659
Rain 5G StandardRainUp to 50/50MbpsMobile — 5GVideo streaming capped at 1080pR699
MyMTN Home Uncapped 50MbpsMTNUp to 50/50MbpsMobile — 5GAfter first 1TB usage:
Speeds drop down to 4Mbps
R999
100Mbps
MTN Uncapped LTE 100MbpsAxxessUp to 100/100MbpsMobile — LTEAfter first 500GB usage:
Speeds drop down to 2Mbps
R749
Openserve 100MbpsMWEB100/10MbpsFibreNoneR799
Herotel 100MbpsHerotel100/100MbpsFibreNoneR849
MyMTN Home Uncapped 100MbpsMTNUp to 100/100MbpsMobile — 5GAfter first 2TB usage:
Speeds drop down to 4Mbps
R1,099

Source: MyBroadband

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