Cellular Costs Irregularities

ModaCell V

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.

Diiis.Gusss.Ting.

Technorati Tags: vodacom, mtn, cellc, virginmobile, mnp, mobilenumberportability, SouthAfrica, costs, SMS, data

Have you ported?

Oh, and the first provider to offer me an N95 will get my business.

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3 Comments

  1. All the reason we should move more towards GRPS. My concern with that is the technology for gprs communication is still too expensive for the masses.

    What i mean by that is the majority of the masses have R250.00 phones that do not come with a colour screen and java enabled phone to be able to run GPRS based communication applications such as Mxit.

    The cheapest phone i have been able to find on ‘pay as u breathe’; that can handle GPRS; is around R999 from MTN and Vodacom. I stand corrected.

    In the end the people that are being ripped of are “THE POOREST OF THE POOR”.

    Gosh don’t u just hate that phrase ? especially when used by the public servant fat cats who do not put together policies that “PUSH THE FRONTIERS OF POVERTY”

    Gosh i think i will put together a wiki where everyone can add the government catch phrase of the day.

  2. Please Silver, if I’ve made a mistake point it out. Don’t just say I’m wrong. Show me. That’s what the comments are here for.

    This was a rough calculation done in the space of a half hour or so, and I’m a lousy mathematician, but it seems to hold true to me.

    One thing I know for sure, transmitting GPRS/3G data is a helluva lot cheaper than SMS, and it shouldn’t be.

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