It's official: there's a price war starting up in the wireless broadband market, with Vodacom the latest operator to slash its prices by up to 61%.
Sentech started the ball rolling from 1 March with massive price cuts, including a R99.00 per month package aimed at converting dial-up users and bringing new users into the broadband fold.
Sentech's explanation that it is now able to source international bandwidth for much less than previously, and was thus passing these savings on to customers, prompted speculation that other operators – also benefiting from lower international costs – would do the same.
iBurst was first off the blocks, with an announcement that, from 1 March, it would add additional bandwidth on to its existing bundles.
Now Vodacom has come in with huge price cuts, valid from 1 April, that offer bandwidth as cost-effectively as 19 cents per Mb.
The operator's entry-level 12-month contract is the R189.00 (previously R350.00) My Meg 500; or R249.00 (previously R350.00) for the package including a data card or USB modem.
The mid-range offering is the R289.00 (previously R499.00) My Gig 1; or R349.00 (previously R599.00) including the data card or USB modem.
At the top of the range, the My Gig 2 now comes in at R389.00 (previously R998.00), or R499.00 (previously R1 098.00) for the package including a data card or USB modem.
A Vodacom statement points out that, just two years ago, mobile data users were paying R40.00 per Mb while these new prices bring it down to 19 cents per Mb at the high end – a decrease of about 99%.
Entry-level users are paying about 37 cents per Mb.
Vodacom also offers a range of 24-month contacts and bolt-on month-to-month data bundles, all of which have been reduced in price.