I did a quick comparison of current mobile data offerings for a friend, so I figured I may as well just publish it here for everyone. The basic requirement is for some mobile data connectivity – emails, facetube and such on a laptop, but not necessarily huge downloads. Most of the deals suck in that they lock you into 24 month contracts. I know 8ta has very good packages but I’m not sure what their coverage is like.

Here are the current best low-end (2GB or so) options:

8ta:

10Gigs x 24 months for R199pm, R200 connection fee, bring your own modem.
(http://8ta.com/plans/postpaid-data/i5promo/)

2Gigs(day) + 1 Gigs(night) prepaid @R149pm, bring your own device.
(http://www.8ta.com/plans/2gbpromo/)

MTN:

2GB x 24 months @ R139pm, free modem, free connection, free SIM.
(http://www.mtnsp.co.za/shop/MTNDirect/Pages/DataDeals.aspx)

Vodacom:

2GB (day) + 2GB (night) x 24 months @ R149pm, free modem.
(http://www.vodacom.co.za/personal/phonesandpackages/deals?dealId=1504)

CellC:

2GB x 24 months @R99pm, bring your own modem.
(http://www.cellc.co.za/data-contract-packages/all/0/9)

Personally I’d go for the 10gig 8ta plan if you want download a lot, otherwise the 8ta 2gb promo if you don’t want to be tied into a contract, assuming you have coverage. The only downside to the prepaid is you have to keep recharging which can be a pain in the ass every month. If you want a new free 3G modem, you’ll end up signing for 24 months but you can also buy 3G modems for R500-R800.

Bar 8ta, it still amounts to at least R50 per GB, which is retarded. In sum: the consumer is getting ripped off by being forced to sign an unnecessary 24month contract or alternatively pay exorbitant prepaid rates. Not cool.