Cell C mobile data – prepaid vs top-up vs postpaid – 2021

Last modified date

See our breakdown of Cell C mobile data according to how much it costs, over how many days is it available, what are the cheapest options, and the promotions on mobile data. We will also check out packages available if you want to get mobile data on prepaid and contract, contracts with a device like you buy a laptop and mobile WiFi combo.

Having recently changed its strategy to being a technology and mobile network services company Cell C packages now lead with data instead of minutes and SMSes. This can be seen where their contract package names include the data amount, as in the case of SmartData and Pinnacle 2GB contracts. This signals to their customers, if anything, that they will concentrate on providing them with data packages that should be rather competitive. This is why this author was surprised that they hadn’t introduced any 5G packages by December 2021, which would have shown their seriousness in relation to being a leading provider of cellular data in South Africa. There are other questions with regards to their product decisions as you will see later in this article.

Cell C has other data solutions that are more suited for home use, such as their Home Connecta product. When you buy a home product the network provider sets up and fixes your location to a particular tower. Cell C is able to manage its network connections better when you connect to one tower than when you as a subscriber change locations, as is the case with the need for a mobile data solution. Cell C can offer an uncapped home solution because you are using it in one physical location near their tower.

Alas, we shall go through all of Cell C’s current prepaid, top-up and postpaid mobile data offers for those subscribers who want an internet connection in different physical locations.

Cell C mobile data contract packages

Signing up for a mobile data contract is one of the ways Cell C subscribers can access the internet because they are allocated a monthly bundle of mobile data. This can be through a data-only or inclusive value contract. The packages include SIM-only, SIM and mobile WiFi device combo, laptops and mobile WiFi combos, and cellphone contracts that include a monthly allocation of mobile data as part of an inclusive value package.

Cell C’s postpaid contract types include a standard contract and a top-up contract. The contract periods run on a month-to-month, 12, 24, or 36 months basis. But the contracts that are issued with a device are 24 or 36 months long because the device is going to be financed over the contract’s initial period.

Postpaid contract packages include:

  • Cell C SmartData
  • Cell C Pinnacle

Cell C SmartData

The Cell C SmartData is a postpaid contract that focuses on data. On this package, a subscriber gets allocated data bundles monthly. They are available for an initial contract period of 12, 24, or 36 months. If you’re signing a new contract or upgrading your current contract we recommend getting a new LTE-ready SIM card instead of using your old one. This will ensure you are able to get the fastest available speed in your area.

There are some differences between the two SmartData contract types:

What you getTop upStandard
smallest package500MB for R49pm500MB for R49pm
largest package200gigs for R2099pm100 gigs plus 100 gigs Nite data for R1699pm
can I top up my data?top-up is the defaultyes, at in-bundle rates
does my data expire?yes, at the end of the calendar monthyes, at the end of the calendar month
do I get night surfer data?noyes
will I be billed for any extra data I use?n/ayes, at out-of-bundle rates up to the limit that you have set
The difference between the Cell C SmartData contract types. Source: cellc.co.za

You can manage your limits on the Cell C app:

Manage your limits on the Cell C app
Manage your limits on the Cell C app. Source: Cell C app

Do SmartData bundles roll over?

All of Cell C’s SmartData data bundles are valid only for the month they were allocated and do not roll at the end of a calendar month unless you buy a bundle that specifically extends how long they are valid. Meaning if a subscriber doesn’t use their data they will lose it at the end of the month they were allocated. This seems to be self-defeating if you’re going to compete for mobile data subscribers, so why would Cell C choose to stress their customers about expiring data?

Do note that data bundles WILL roll over to the next calendar month on an inclusive value package like the Pinnacle contract, it’s just not the case on these data-focused SmartData contracts. Cell C SmartData SIM cards can also be loaded with airtime and used for making phone calls or sending SMSes if they are inserted into a phone or tabled.

Cell C Pinnacle packages

The Cell C Pinnacle packages are inclusive-value contracts offered with different price plans. The price plan describes how much data will be included in the inclusive data bundle, where the Pinnacle 10GB TopUp price plan means a subscriber on this price plan will receive 10 gigs of mobile data allocated to them for that month.

The Cell C Pinnacle packages:

  • The inclusive value also includes minutes and SMSes.
  • are available on a 24 month Standard or TopUp contract
  • They are also SIM-only deals, where the subscriber will insert a Cell C SIM card into a phone or tablet and have their monthly inclusive value allocated to it.
  • The smallest value price plan is available starting from R59 per month on Cell C Pinnacle 1GB TopUp price plan
  • The largest value price plan available is at R799 per month on the Cell C Pinnacle 10GB TopUp price plan

See here for more on the Cell C Pinnacle package.

Cell C prepaid mobile data

For Cell C subscribers wanting to control their spending, a prepaid SIM card is usually how they can achieve that. Prepaid price plans have fewer incentives, but their incentives to recharge mobile data packages are as there are promotions on most of the price plans when you recharge.

What you getCostValidity
smallest package60MB for R107 days
mid-size package500MB for R3530 days
largest package300 gigs for R19991 year
Cell C prepaid mobile data comparison. Source: cellc.co.za

But wait, Cell C 500MB mobile data is R35 on prepaid, but on contract 500MB is R49? Well, prepaid does not receive Nite data as default, meaning as a Cell C prepaid mobile data subscriber you will have to find prepaid promotions and deals that offer it.

Cell C prepaid mobile data
Cell C prepaid mobile data. Source: Cell C app

Cell C Prepaid mobile data promotions

Cell C MegaData on EasyChat

The Cell C EasyChat tariff plan offers MegaData price plans available to new and existing prepaid customers. It is promotional data that gives subscribers who are on this price plan three times the recharge value. So, if you recharge for R50 you will receive 50MB X 3, R200 recharge will give you 200MB X 3. SO you could actually recharge and get free data, and also turn around and buy extra mobile data with the R50 recharge amount.

Cell C All-In-One Starter Pack

For free data every time you recharge you can also buy a new Cell C All-In-One starter pack SIM card and receive Cell C-to-Cell C airtime and data. Existing Cell C subscribers are not allowed to migrate to this price plan, and neither can they migrate out, so if a customer would like these benefits they will have to buy this starter pack in order to access this promotion. The free data is valid for either 3 or 5 days depending on the recharge amount.

Cell C device and SIM

Equipment and SIM card deals are available on 24 and 36-month contracts only. This is separate from the Pinnacle packages, wherewith Pinnacle you’re able to get a phone, but a device and SIM deal may include a Cell C SIM card + tablet, a laptop + WiFi router + Cell C SIM card, or simply a mobile WiFi router + a Cell C SIM card. The SIM card will of course be how you access the mobile internet. For mobile data bundles, a subscriber will choose a data-focused contract like the SmartData packages.

Cell C laptop and mobile router deals

A subscriber may also be interested in purchasing a bundle that includes a laptop and a mobile router. The benefits of this include being able to finance a laptop over 36 months instead of a lump sum, with the added benefits of getting a monthly allocation of data. This is a perfect combination for many tertiary students:

  • HUAWEI Matebook D14 Core i5 Windows 10 Home Edition laptop, with a ZTE Mf927U mobile WiFi on a SmartData 10gigs Top Up + Additional 5gigs Nite Data over 36 months for R 789 per month

Mobile data WiFi routers

With a mobile WiFi router contract, you may receive a mobile LTE router in order to access the mobile internet. The Cell C online shop sells:

  • ZTE Mf927U mobile WiFi router on SmartData 5GB TOPUP + Additional 5GB Nite Data on an initial 24 months contract for R 119pm

NOTE: Cell C has available on their laptop deals the cheaper HUAWEI E5576 LTE Mifi Router, but this router is not available for sale on its own on their online shop.

Tablets deals

We found the following deal on the Cell C online shop

  • SAMSUNG T505 Galaxy Tab A7 10.4 Inch on a SmartData 5gigs Top Up + Additional 5GB Nite Data over 36 months for R 349pm

Cell C SIM-only deals

All cellular companies have SIM-only deals, where you get a SIM card but use your own device. This is often a case where a subscriber has a spare cellphone or spare mobile router and will just pop it in there to access the mobile internet. SIM-only deals are available in Month-to-Month, 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36-month contract lengths. With a month-to-month price plan, you will have to pay upfront, so Cell C charges your card on the 25th of the current month in order to allocate the data for the following month.

Moemedi Segoje