Your Guide to Telkom Home and Mobile data plans

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Telkom offers data plans on its fastest internet speed of LTE/LTE-A and includes home/fixed physical location data plans, mobile data plans, and data bundled in its inclusive value contracts. The data plans come with options of an internet-connected device like a mobile WiFi router, or those big home WiFi routers that are always plugged into the wall socket, laptops plus mobile WiFi combos, and smartphones or tablets that are bundled with inclusive data plans, too.

A Telkom shop. Randburg, December 2022.
A Telkom shop. Randburg, December 2022.

Telkom’s LTE-A network

When we are MTN subscribers we use that network’s services to make voice calls and connect to the internet. We might not think about it too much but we most likely may not make use of Vodacom’s network at all, we will stay on MTN.

But Telkom doesn’t have as much network coverage as MTN and Vodacom, in the urban areas, yes Telkom coverage is fine, but in the rural and less-populated areas of South Africa? Not as much. So then what Telkom does is roam on MTN and Vodacom networks. This means a voice call or internet connection is carried on Vodacom or MTN’s network, not on. The Telkom SA group actually does have its own cellphone tower portfolio, which is managed through the Gyro Group, and IS an actual cellular network operator.

What Telkom subscribers will need to be aware of with Telkom data plans is that the data bundles that they are allocated will either “work” or “don’t work” based on which network they would be connected to at any point in time. Some of Telkom’s price plans (eg. SmartBroadband Wireless post-paid LTE plans) and data bundles are exclusively available on Telkom’s (growing) network footprint and do not “work” on their roaming partners when a subscriber is out of Telkom coverage.

Thus, knowing where Telkom has its own network coverage (and whether you’ll be connected to it) is essential when looking into Telkom data deals. This is not a big deal if it is going to be used as a home internet solution, but as soon as a user steps outside and moves with their Telkom’s LTE/LTE-A SIM card to another location they might experience internet connection issues.

When data bundles are available to use on Telkom’s roaming partners they are called All-Network data bundles, and this guide will go through Telkom’s 2021 data plans and price plans available and note such important information as to whether they can be used.

Mobile data plans available on contract

Telkom’s mobile data plans are for subscribers who need to move physical locations and will take their devices with them as they do. This means that they will need mobile data bundles and a mobile device.

Telkom Shop
Telkom Shop. Randburg, August 2022.

Telkom offers mobile data contracts as inclusive value packages or as a SIM-only packages that will only be allocated a monthly data bundle. Inclusive value contracts are bundled at the very least with call minutes, SMSes, and data. A subscriber may then decide whether they need a device such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or mobile WiFi router, to connect to the internet.

Most of Telkom’s mobile data plans also include data bundles that will be spent first when using messaging channels like WhatsApp, or video and music streaming services such as Apple Music, YouTube, ShowMax, and Netflix. WhatsApp will include WhatsApp voice calls but not WhatsApp video calls.

Telkom FreeMe data contracts

Telkom has a strategy that includes increasing its subscribers’ access to the internet, and this can be seen where the FreeMe packages are named after monthly data allocations. The New FreeMe data contracts are also allocated monthly data bundles for streaming and messaging services:

  • FreeMe music streaming services – YouTube Music, Apple Music, CliffCentral.com
  • FreeMe video streaming services – YouTube, Netflix, ShowMax, DSTV Now, Google Play Movies & TV
  • FreeMe messaging service – WhatsApp, Telegram

Telkom’s mobile data contract types are:

  • FreeMe TopUp – a subscriber gets an allocation of monthly data, but if they run they can recharge with mobile data bundles to continue using the internet.
  • FreeMe standard – a subscriber gets an allocation of monthly data, but if they run they can use the internet at out-of-bundles data rates and let Telkom bill them for this extra use.
What you getFreeMe
smallest packageR99pm for 1 gig + 250MB WhatsApp 250MB streaming services
largest packageR1189pm for uncapped data (30GB FUP), 5GB WhatsApp, 5GB streaming services
does my data expire?yes, at the end of the next calendar month, WhatsApp and streaming in the current month
can I use all networks?yes
Telkom FreeMe. Source: telkom.co.za

Telkom 100GB Night Surfer

A perfect bundle for night owls who are up all night the Telkom 100GB Night Surfer data bundle is prepaid mobile data available over 31 days at R149. The data can be used from 12 am until 7 am, but only over Telkom’s network and not roaming partners.

SmartBroadband Wireless Prepaid

Telkom SmartBroadband Wireless LTE products are also available on prepaid, where you 1) buy LTE/LTE-A data bundles, 2) load them into an LTE-capable SIM card, and then 3) use an LTE/LTE-A capable device like the latest LTE-capable smartphones. The Telkom LTE data bundles are usable in mobile WiFi, as long as the subscriber is in a Telkom LTE-covered area. These data bundles are not available for use on Telkom’s roaming partner networks (All-Network) and are to be used exclusively on Telkom’s network.

PackagesWhat do you get?Other details
smallest package 3GB + 3GB night data for R49valid over 14 days
less than R100 package7.5GB + 7.5GB night data for R99valid over 61 days, but night data over 31 days
biggest package220GB + 220GB night data for R1059valid over 61 days, but night data over 31 days
Telkom SmartBroadband Wireless LTE products. Source: telkom.co.za

Existing Telkom prepaid subscribers will need to migrate to the SmartBroadband Wireless tariff plans in order to buy and use LTE/LTE-A data bundles. The Thola More, Telkom More, and SIM-Sonke prepaid tariff plans are excluded from buying and using these data bundles so subscribers will have to migrate.

Home data plans

The four biggest cellular network companies in South Africa all have home/fixed internet solutions where they use the cellular network to offer high-speed internet instead of using DSL cables or fiber, where these wired solutions are considered faster and a lot more stable than a cellular internet connection, the cellular network companies are competing for a slice of the internet provider pie by proving theirs is just as fast and stable.

The major difference between traditional Internet Service Providers (ISP) is that ISPs are able to guarantee specific speeds with uncapped and non-throttled internet, while cellular network companies mostly offer a set amount of data bundles at “best-effort” speeds before reducing internet speeds if users go over a certain amount of data. Home internet over a cellular network is not perfect, but it works well for those who don’t have access to DSL or fibre.

Telkom offers a high-speed home internet connection on their LTE/LTE-A network through the SmartBroadband Wireless data plans. The major difference between the Telkom SmartBroadband Wireless home solution and Telkom’s other mobile solutions is the devices used. Telkom does not strictly lock your SIM card to a tower when on the SmartBroadband Wireless data plan, so wherever there is a Telkom LTE/LTE-A connection then theoretically a user is able to connect to Telkom’s LTE-LTE-A internet.

Telkom LTE 1 Terabyte contracts

PackagesWhat do you get?
smallest package2 Terabytes of anytime data for R699pm x 12 Months
biggest package2 Terabytes of anytime data for R1079pm x 24 Months, including Smart WiFi bulbs, IP cameras, and a floodlight.
SmartBroadband Wireless Post-paid plans. Source: telkom.co.za

Telkom Mobile offers data plans on LTE/LTE-A and includes home/fixed physical location data plans, mobile data plans, and data bundled in its inclusive value contracts.

The terabyte contract has had its one terabyte of anytime data doubled to give you 2 terabytes of anytime data. The deal does not include an LTE device, but it can be added at an extra amount.

Telkom uncapped LTE contracts

How the Telkom FUP works

Telkom has applied restrictions to their uncapped LTE offers; a) Fair Use Policy (FUP), b) Time of operation, c) and/or validity period.

Telkom data FUP: You get a set amount of data and when you reach it they slow down your internet speed. It is capped at 250GB or 500GB

Telkom Time of Operations policy: You can use data only from midnight until 7 pm depending on whether you’ve reached a set FUP

Telkom 7-day validity period: You get a set amount of data and when you reach it you have an additional 7 days of uncapped data before your internet is totally shut off.

Month-to-month uncapped contracts

You can use data only from midnight until 7 pm depending on whether you’ve reached a set FUP. Telkom divides it into their Off-Peak and All-hours.

The internet download speeds are at 10mbps before being slowed down eventually to 2mbps.

PackagesWhat do you get?Other details
Unlimited Off-peakUncapped data for R129 once offTime of Operation and 7-day validity period
Unlimited All HoursUncapped data for R299 monthlyTime of Operation and 7-day validity period
Telkom uncapped LTE products. Source: telkom.co.za

Off-peak uncapped contract

With Unlimited Off-peak you get access to uncapped data, but only during off-peak hours. Data off-peak hours are between midnight to 7 PM of the same day.

These contracts are available for between 12 and 36 months. But, it is always a good idea to get a short-term contract so you can take advantage of different promotions from different internet service providers.

The internet download speeds are at 10mbps before being slowed down eventually to 2mbps.

PackagesWhat do you get?Other details
Unlimited Off-peak 12 monthsUncapped data for R349pm x 12 monthsTime of Operation
Telkom uncapped LTE products. Source: telkom.co.za

Uncapped LTE contracts

The Telkom LTE Wireless Unlimited uncapped home LTE data contracts can be considered uncapped because you will not be fully shut off from internet use but have your speed reduced still with the ability to use as much data as you want.

The internet download speeds are at 20mbps/10mbps before being slowed down eventually to 2mbps.

PackagesWhat do you get?Other details
smallest 10mbps packageR449pm x 12FUP of 500GB
smallest 20mbps packageR599pm x 12FUP of 500GB
Telkom uncapped LTE products. Source: telkom.co.za

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