Globally, mobile pricing plans have shifted away from traditional plans and become more data centric. Will South Africa follow suit?
When it comes to smartphones and network providers mobile pricing plans, there has been a shift away from phone calls and texts to data-based communications and services.
In fact, even traditional voice services have now adapted to the global data first culture, and morphed into VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, a type of technology which allows speech communication over the internet).
Globally, mobile service providers have seen this shift and begun adjusting their mobile offerings to meet the increased demand for data. Lets take a look at some mobile pricing plans from the USA:
United States of America
AT&T - One of the largest mobile service providers in the United States, AT&T offers an Unlimited Pricing Plan to its subscribers for US$100. The terms state that a subscriber would have to have an AT&T Wireless contract as well as DirectTV in order to qualify.
The plan offers unlimited data for all devices on the plan, but does state that speeds may be slowed once you’ve used 22GB of data.
All calls and texts (within the United States as well as to Mexico and Canada) are free as part of the Unlimited Pricing Plan.
T-Mobile - Also offers an unlimited data pricing plan. For US$95, a subscriber can get unlimited 4G LTE data. T-Mobile also allows you to roll up to 20GB of your unused data over to the following month, however with unlimited data, this hardly seems necessary.
Verizon - Advertised as the largest 4G network in the United States, does not offer an unlimited data plan. After having killed of its unlimited data offering a few years ago, Verizon now only offers capped data plans.
Project Fi - is a Google initiative aimed at Nexus 5X, 6 and 6P users. What differentiates Project Fi from traditional mobile service providers is that it swaps between Wi-Fi and three 4G LTE networks to keep you connected. Essentially this means that Project Fi users get more coverage in more places.
Project Fi works by moving you to the network that shows to be the best (in their analysis) whether that network is 4G, LTE, 3G or 2G. If you’re in an area with both Wi-Fi and cell reception, Project Fi will route the call over to whichever network has the strongest connection without dropping the call.
They have one plan which with the Fi Basics for $20/month. It includes unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts, Wi-Fi tethering to use your phone as a hotspot, and access cellular coverage in 120+ countries.
Another difference with Project Fi is that they refund you for any unused data (approximately one cent per MB). For example, if your data budget is 2GB and you use 1.265GB, you'll get a $7.35 credit.
South Africa has long been trailing behind this trend, however recent reports indicate that a local mobile service provider is preparing to launch a data first plan similar to the ones found overseas.
We’ll keep you updated as we get more information.