A 2021 guide to Vodacom mobile data

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The average bargain-hunting tech-savvy mobile internet user has a cellphone number they use for calls, and they know to find the cheapest data-only deal to use as their mobile internet connection point, perhaps from another cellular company, and have that data-only SIM card in their mobile WiFi router or dual-SIM cellphone.

But a longtime Vodacom customer would remember that they had to get a mobile 3G USB dongle as their mobile internet connection, with mobile data on their cellphones being a premium service. Well, data prices have dropped, LTE data is the norm for mobile data connections, and mobile internet services have changed and expanded.

We define Mobile Data as the ability to access the internet using cellular data bundles in different locations while using the same internet connection device. This means a user must be able to move with their laptop, cellphone or tablet, to a different physical location and connect to the internet using the data on their phone, mobile WiFi router, or USB dongle connected to their laptop.

How do Vodacom mobile prepaid data, inclusive value contract data, and data+WiFi router contracts compare? Based on non-promotional data with a once-a-month payment on a 30-day/calendar month cycle:

PackagesPrepaid dataInclusive dataData only
smallest packageR12 for 50MBR139pm with 500MB + 500MB night data (Mara X)R99pm for 1gig + 1gig night data (+ ZTE router)
less than R100R89 for 1gigR99pm for 1gig + 1gig night data (+ ZTE router)
biggest packageR999 for 100gigsR2,139pm with 100gigs + 100gigs night data  (Huawei Y5P)R179pm for 10gigs of data + 10gigs night data + 10gigs Video Ticket
is night data included?noyes, equal to anytime datayes, equal to anytime data
does my monthly subscription data expire?Yes, at the end of the next calendar month.Yes, at the end of the next calendar month.
can I top up my data?Top-up/recharge as standardOnly on Top-up price plansOnly on Top-up price plans
will my top-up data expire?Yes, in 30 days.Yes, at the end of the next calendar month.Yes, at the end of the next calendar month.
Vodacom mobile prepaid data, inclusive value contract data, and data+WiFi router contracts. Source: vodacom.co.za

Let’s see how Vodacom connects its mobile data users to the internet in 2021.

Vodacom mobile data contracts

Vodacom’s mobile data contracts have packages that are:

  • Data-only/SIM-only
  • Data and WiFi router combo
  • Inclusive value contract
  • Device and data combo

Data-only/SIM-only

A data-only mobile contract may be best suited for a current Vodacom subscriber who already has a device to connect to the mobile internet and they choose to upgrade their current data contract, or migrate from a prepaid package and purchase a new 24-month data-only contract. The subscriber would then only need data to be allocated to the number of their choice. What we always advise is a new SIM card, or at least a checking with the cellular company if a new one is needed, when getting new a contract as the new technology may have been provisioned on new SIM cards to enable 5G speeds and other technologies.

The cheapest data bundles on a 24-month data contract are on the Red Hot Data promotion:

PackagesWhat do you get?
smallest packageR69pm for 1gig + 1gig night data
less than R100R99pm for 5gig + 5gig night data + 5gigs Video Ticket
biggest packageR1,199pm for 400gigs of data + 400gigs night data
is night data included?Yes, equal to anytime data
does my monthly subscription data expire?Yes, at the end of the next calendar month.
can I top up my data?Only on Top-up price plans
will my top-up data expire?Yes, at the end of the next calendar month.
Red Hot Data promotion. Source: vodacom.co.za

Data + WiFi router combo

Vodacom sells mobile WiFi routers with a monthly data bundle allocation. They have:

  • Vodafone Alcatel R219t
  • ZTE R219z LTE MiFi Router

The router is going to be financed over the initial contract period, which we have derived ZTE to be R30 per month over 24 months, which means Vodacom sells this for R720.

The Vodacom Red Hot Data promotion also has great data and WiFi router deals:

Package infoWhat do you get?
smallest package1gig + 1gig night data, Alcatel R219t, for R99pmx24/R89pmx36
mid-size package10gigs + 10gigs night data, Alcatel R219t, 10gigs video ticket, for R179pmx24
highest package50gigs + 50gigs night data, mobile WiFi router, 10gigs video ticket, for R429pmx24/R369pmx36
Vodacom Red Hot Data promotion. Source: vodacom.co.za

WiFi routers are also available as a cash option:

  • The ZTE R219z LTE MiFi Router can connect up to 10 Users on Vodacom’s 4G/LTE network. It is available for R799 as a cash offer from Incredible Connection.
  • The Huawei R219 MiFi LTE router is available on special from Technomobi for a once-off payment of R699. Technomobi notes that “This router is packaged by Vodacom”, essentially meaning you are buying the same router that Vodacom supplies with its laptop bundle.
  • ChatzConnect also has available the Hisense H218 LTE Mifi Router, which is locked to the Vodacom network, on offer for R499. ChatzConnect will throw in an extra 1 gig per month over 3 months with this offer.
Hisense LTE WiFi mobile router
Hisense LTE WiFi mobile router. Screenshot: chatzconnect.co.za

Inclusive value contracts

An inclusive value contract has an inclusive value bundle that allocates monthly bundles that include mobile data, call minutes, and SMSes. A subscriber would pay a monthly subscription fee according to their price plan, and because data bundles are included in the fee then data is allocated monthly along with the rest of the other bundles, creating a standard value of bundles.

An inclusive value contract often includes a device, particularly a smartphone, as part of its inclusive value package.

Red Plans

The Vodacom RED plans are focused on subscribers with high call volumes, but will also need to be connected to the mobile internet at certain intervals. The RED Core and RED VIP packages all come with inclusive data, except for the RED Flexi.

The RED VIP includes price plans especially carry a high amount of inclusive data, with price plans such as:

  • Red VIP 15GB – Starting at R1199pm
  • Red VIP 30GB – Starting at R1599pm
  • RED VIP 100GB – Starting at R2099pm

For all RED VIP packages, the price plan name includes the amount of data a subscriber gets, and the anytime data is included in the same amount as the night data. So, RED VIP 100GB has 100 gigs of anytime data and 100 gigs of nighttime data. With a new RED VIP contract, chances are a subscriber will buy a smartphone, and the latest smartphones are LTE capable.

Vodacom RED plans are further discussed here.

Device and data combo

Vodacom also offers its subscribers the ability to pair a data-only contract with a device. This comes in the form of a tablet with a data-only SIM card, and a laptop bundled with a WiFi router. It may be easier for cash-strapped university students to buy a laptop and router combo as they would be able to finance this over a period of 2 years.

Tablet

A deal that includes a tablet can look like this:

  • Device name: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ LTE 12.4 inch Mystic Dark Navy
  • Price Plan: 50GB Data Contract, 50gigs + 50gigs night data
  • Subscription fee: R1,349 PM x 24

OR

  • Device name: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ LTE 12.4 inch Mystic Dark Navy
  • Price Plan: 5GB Data Contract, 5gigs + 5gigs night data
  • Subscription fee: R1,099pm x 24
Laptop and WiFi router deal

A Vodacom laptop and router combo deal available on promotion looks like this:

  • Laptop: Proline V146ENV Silver 128GB
  • WiFi router: ZTE R219z LTE MiFi Router (CAT 4)
  • Price Plan: 50GB Data Top Up Contract, 50gigs + 50gigs night data
  • Subscription fee: R599pm x 24

OR

  • Laptop: Proline V146ENV Silver 128GB
  • WiFi router: ZTE R219z LTE MiFi Router (CAT 4)
  • Price Plan: 2GB Data Top Up Contract, 2gigs + 2gigs night data
  • Subscription fee: R299pm x 24

Vodacom prepaid mobile data

Prepaid mobile data bundles are possibly the most used data bundles as they can be bought separately for a prepaid subscription, or bought to top-up mobile data as in the case of top-up contract subscribers.

Prepaid customers have options such as:

Time-based mobile data

Mobile data to use within 1 hour, Until midnight, 7 days, 30 days, 30 days Recurring, and Night Owl

Recurring mobile data bundles
  • R173 for 3gigs valid for 30 days
  • R174.5 for 6gigs valid for 30 days
  • R111.77 for 2gigs monthly valid for 30 days
Once off purchase of mobile data
  • R12 for 50MB valid for 30 days
  • R89 for 1gig valid for 30 days
  • R999 for 100gigs valid for 30 days

Vodacom 5G mobile data

Vodacom is able to provide mobile data users a 5G connection. For a 5G connection to happen Vodacom says a customer will need: 1) a Vodacom 5G data contract, 2) be in an area with 5G coverage, 3) a 5G SIM, and 4) a 5G-capable device. Therefore, if I sign a 5G data contract, and I live in Blairgowrie (Vodacom 5G mobile coverage available there), and Vodacom has provided me with a 5G-ready SIM card, and I want to have a 5G connection on my Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE, I should be able to take a tablet to my office in Mall of Africa in Midrand (Vodacom 5G mobile coverage also available there) and access the network there. At least that’s what we assumed based on our desktop research…

Vodacom 5G mobile coverage
Vodacom 5G mobile coverage. Screenshot: vccoverage.afrigis.co.za

However, after speaking to a consultant from Vodacom Online Sales on 08217844 we were informed that as long as we have a 5G-capable device, like our 5G-capable Samsung Galaxy Tab S7FE tablet, and we are within a 5G area then we can use the 5G network without a need to buy special “5G data bundles” or be on a 5G contract.

CellyGuide.co.za shall test this and update this article in due course.

Update: Vodacom mobile 5G tested on mobile data!

CellyGuide says buy that 5G capable cellphone from Vodacom on contract. We have tested the Vodacom mobile 5G network using mobile data and we have found that the Vodacom mobile 5G is available to use on a 5G capable cellphone without the need for “5G data bundles”, or a 5G contract.

Vodacom 5g network mobile data test on cnr Republic and Bram Fischer roads, Randburg.
Vodacom 5g network mobile data test on cnr Republic and Bram Fischer roads, Randburg. (02 January 2022, Johannesburg, South Africa)

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