Your guide to cellphone contracts in South Africa

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It’s time for a cellphone upgrade. But we’re so bombarded daily with new contracts and phones, it can be difficult to make a decision. Cellphone contracts come in all shapes and sizes, they can range from pay-as-you-go monthly plans to post-paid plans. 

Unlike pre-paid phones, which require regular top-ups of airtime and data, contracts typically offer a set number of minutes and data each month, along with a fixed data bundle. 

In theory, contracts are designed to make life simpler, allowing you to use your phone without having to worry about running out of airtime or data. In reality, contracts are not without their share of challenges, especially when it comes to choosing which contract to go with.

Cellphone contract, or prepaid phone? 💭

How do contract phones compare to pre-paid phones? You could think that it’s cheaper to go with a pre-paid phone. It may cost you less in some ways, and it would certainly be less paperwork. 

However, one of the things that make phone contracts so popular is they often work out to be more affordable in the long run. With a pre-paid device, you first need to buy the phone outright. Then, you need to pay for any airtime and data you need.

Another great benefit of cell contracts, is that you get to upgrade every two years! And with new (and improved) smartphones coming out so often, upgrades allow you to get the latest phone with your new contract.

How do you find the best cellphone contracts? 📱

Finding the best cellphone deals comes down to a few things. You will need to look at the monthly costs involved, as well as the device that is offered with the plan. 

Some of the details you should look into when trying to find the right mobile deals include:

  • Network: If you’re getting a brand new contract, you can start by browsing deals from South Africa’s leading cellular networks
  • Type of package: Look carefully at the package offered with the deal, and be sure it’s the right plan for your budget and needs
  • Device: Does the deal include your dream phone, or will you pay extra for the phone you want?
  • Airtime and message costs: Have a look to see whether you get a set number of minutes or a fixed monthly airtime amount
  • Data costs: Check the data costs for your chosen plan, and compare it against other types of contracts
  • Out of bundle costs: Will you pay extra for any data or airtime used outside of your allocated bundle?
  • Other costs: Always read the fine print to check whether there are any other hidden costs that may be involved

Time to pick a contract ✍️

A vital part of choosing the right contract is choosing the right cellular network. In South Africa, the top two networks are Vodacom and MTN. In August 2018, MyBroadband reported that Vodacom made up the bulk of the market, with 43.1 million subscribers. MTN followed behind with 30.2 million, with Cell C at 16.3 million users, and Telkom at 5.2 million. 

However, choosing your network should never come down to popularity. Things you’ll need to consider include costs, as well as 3G and 4G speeds, availability and support. 

You could find that one of the smaller networks offers a deal that is more suited to your budget. Rather than making a choice without having a clear overview of what each network offers, it’s always useful to do a bit of homework before making your decision.

Looking at review Platforms such as Hellpeter allow you to read what other people have to say about the different cell networks.

Tips for making your final cellphone decision 🤳

We hope you have a better understanding of how mobile phone contracts work in South Africa. If you have been on pre-paid for many years and you are now starting to think about moving up to a contract, it can be a little daunting at first to know where to get started. Especially when there are so many networks, and offers on the market.

One of the many things that makes Hellopeter an essential part of the decision-making process is the ability to read consumer reviews. Rather than getting talked into a deal with a network you’re not really too sure about, or a phone that you’re not really going to love, taking the time to do some homework in advance will save you a great deal of time and effort.

People all over the country use our platform to share their thoughts on a huge number of companies, products and services. You can easily research your chosen network to see what people are saying right this moment. 

Reviews on Hellopeter have helped over one million consumers make better choices. Had an experience you’d like to tell us about? Leave us a review here.

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