So we all know we’re being ripped off, but do we know how badly? A look at the data versus sms costs of our favourite quadopoly gives a few hints.
So the lowdown is like this:
1 SMS is 160 characters. Each character is 1 byte in size, so an SMS is 160 bytes long.
1 Megabyte is roughly 1024000 bytes. This means approximately 6400 SMS messages can fit in 1 Megabyte of data.
The current cheapest SMS rates from each provider are as follows:
MTN – 21c per SMS
Vodacom – 22.5c per SMS
Cell C – Can’t find a package rate (sucky website)
Virgin – 20c per SMS
And when you look at the cost to transfer data:
Cell C – 50c per Meg
Vodacom – “less than 20c per meg”
Virgin – 50c per Meg
MTN – 39c per meg
In data rates, that means technically it costs 0.003125c per SMS if you could send it on the cheapest data plan, and 0.0078125c per SMS on the more expensive plans. Umm, yeah, rip-off…
So sending the equivalent amount of data over the same network infrastructure, to the same devices with largely the same technology via SMS instead of GPRS/3G/EDGE is
6720% more expensive.
Oh, and the first provider to offer me an N95 will get my business.