Vodacom and MTN continued to have the highest or among the highest monthly prices of 4G and 5G smartphone plans in the world in the second quarter of this year, according to the Rewheel research’s “The state of 4G and 5G pricing, 2H2021 – operator rankings”.
According to the Finland-based mobile data strategy, spectrum valuations, competition and network economics consultancy’s managing partner, Antonios Drossos, Vodacom and MTN had, in September, by far the highest monthly price for a smartphone plan with at least 1 000 national minutes, 20 gigabytes and 10 Mbit/s peak speed.
“Vodacom and MTN South Africa were the operators with the highest and second highest monthly prices, €126 (R2 193) and €120, respectively, for a smartphone plan with at least 1 000 minutes, 10 Mbit/s peak speed and 100 gigabytes,” said Drossos in the report.
Rogers, Bell and Telus Canada were the operators with the third, fourth and fifth-highest prices. All three Canadian operators sold 100 gigabytes for an identical monthly fee of €117.
The latest and historic (2014-2021) 4G and 5G prices from 172 operators in 50 European, American, Asia Pacific, Middle East and African countries showed that Vodacom South Africa’s monthly price for 100 gigabytes was 19 times higher than Pelephone’s Israel, at €126 versus €6.
Among the 10 operators with the highest monthly prices for 100 gigabytes were operators from the South African, Canadian, German, Saudi Arabian and the US markets.
South Africa was said to be transitioning from four to three mobile network operators (MNOs).
Canada was said to be a de-facto network duopoly where concentration might increase further if the Rogers-Shaw proposed merger was approved. Germany was transitioning from three to four MNOs. Saudi Arabia was a three-MNO market.
The US transitioned to three MNOs in the last year after the acquisition of Sprint by T-Mobile. DISH was expected to launch as the new fourth MNO in the US next year.
Telus Canada was the operator with the highest monthly price for a smartphone plan with at least 10 gigabytes.
Operators with lowest smartphone plan prices were Pelephone, Israel, which was the operator with the lowest monthly price of €6.50 for a smartphone plan with at least 1 000 minutes, 10 Mbit/s peak speed and 100 gigabytes. Jio, India, had the second lowest price for 100 gigabytes of €6.59.
Among the 10 operators with the lowest monthly prices for 100 gigabytes were operators from the Israeli, Indian, Malaysian, Romanian, Italian, Chilean and French markets.
In September this year, the minimum monthly price for 100 gigabytes was €7.99 in Italy and €8.90 in France.
Monthly prices of 4G smartphone plans with 1, 10 and 100 gigabytes had more than halved in Sweden, while the monthly price of plans with at least 1 000 gigabytes has fallen by 43 percent.
In April this year, Vodacom reduced pricing on certain 30-day data bundles by up to 14 percent as part of what it called its ongoing commitment to reduce the cost to communicate and connect more people to the digital economy. The price reduction includes the frequently purchased 1GB bundle, which was made R85, a 14 percent reduction from R99.
As part of these price adjustments, Vodacom said it also gave greater value to customers by allocating up to 33 percent more data on selected 30-day bundles, to ensure customers got more value at last year’s prices. It said this would promote digital inclusion and assist their then 43 million customers in making savings at a time when they needed it most.
In August, MTN South Africa cut data prices with a 30-day validity, in some instances by as much as 60 percent. The headline price for 1GB of ad hoc data became R85, from R99 previously.