Looking at cellphone contracts and costs can make your head hurt, especially when you consider that there are three major cellphone networks. To make things a bit simpler, we looked at three typical kinds of cellphone user.
. The weekend user: Typically a student with a small budget, this person uses airtime mainly over weekends and in off-peak periods, after 8pm or on weekends. If this is you, you might choose to use prepaid airtime or a top-up contract, which gives you a set amount of minutes a month. Once your minutes run out, you have the option of topping up your phone with prepaid airtime.
. The average user: This person needs a phone for everyday purposes, during both business hours and off-peak periods.
. The high-end user: This consumer uses his or her cellphone for business purposes and needs a high volume of data as well as minutes.
What works best
Thanks to social messaging services such as WhatsApp and BBM, students or weekend users rarely use their phones for actual phone calls any more. If this is the category you fall into, the Cell C SmartChat 1GB top-up plan makes the best sense. It’s cheap, allows you unlimited WhatsApp messages, data for internet surfing and can be topped up if you require more data or airtime.
If you are an average cellphone user, Vodacom’s Red Advantage plan seems steep, at R999 a month. Cell C emerges as the cheapest option with the ChatMore option for R319 a month. If you use a lot of data, you might consider the MTN option, which gives you 100 more minutes and 2GB of data, but bear in mind that, at R739 a month, it is more than double what you would pay for the Cell C package.
If you are a high-end cellphone user who is constantly on your phone, the Vodacom Red VIP plan is clearly the most expensive option at R1 999, including a new phone. MTN comes in cheaper at R1 599 (or R1 299 without handset) with a bigger data option of 10GB (fair use policy). Cell C emerges as the clear winner at a cost of R999 a month if you have your own phone – or R1 399 if you need one.