#Datawyze: Data bundles: a crash course
If you're using your smartphone to connect to the internet, you need to start buying data bundles. Here's why.
What is data, anyway?
Data is the fuel that powers your device's access to the internet. When you're doing anything on your phone to do with the internet - sending and receiving WhatsApp messages, checking Facebook, using Google Maps, sending an email, and so on - you are using data.
Data is measured in megabytes, or MB and gigabytes - 'gigs' or GB.
How much data do I need?
That depends on your usage.
If you're a light user, who uses your phone to check email, WhatsApp and Facebook, for example, without downloading anything, you probably won't need more than about 250MB of data per month. If you received 100 emails in a month and spent about 10 minutes a day on WhatsApp, you'd probably use about 175MB of data per month.
But, if you're a heavier user, who often downloads or stream music or videos, or if you often take and share photos or videos on social media, you are likely to use way more data. With 500MB, you can watch about an hour of low-res video, download (or upload) 44 photos and about 12 songs. Which isn't very much at all.
But luckily you don't have to leave it up to guesswork. Vodacom has a handy data calculator that will help you to predict the amount of data you'll need on your phone in any given month.
Even better, on the My Vodacom App, you can keep a close eye on your usage, your current bill or how much airtime you have remaining.
How does Vodacom bill me for the data I use?
A common mistake that smartphone users make is to use their airtime to power their internet access. If you're not actively buying data bundles through Vodacom, this is how you are being billed for data. This will end up costing much, much more than it would for you to buy data bundles.
If you're a Prepaid customer, your data usage comes out of your available airtime. If you're a Contract or Top Up customer, it gets added to your monthly bill.
So ... what's a data bundle, then?
A data bundle is a set amount of data that you can buy for a set price.
Data is sold to you in increments of MBs, such as 100MB, 200MB, 250MB, 500MB and more.
The benefit of buying data this way is that you get much better per MB rates than when you use out-of-bundle data.
The differences are immense: If you’re a Vodacom Contract or Top Up customer, for instance, if you use data out of bundle, you’ll be paying R2 per MB – that means that if you're a heavy user in our example above, the 500MB it'll take for you to have that internet experience will cost you R1 000.
Current data promotions, on the other hand, mean that as a Top Up customer, you can buy a MyMeg 500 data bundle (giving you 500MBs of data) for only R99. That's less than 10% of what you'd pay if you didn't buy a bundle!
Okay, you've convinced me. Now how do I buy data bundles?
There are four ways to buy data bundles through Vodacom.
1. On the My Vodacom App: Select 'buy bundles' under the Transactions category and follow the prompts.
2. By logging into My Vodacom online: Select 'buy/transfer bundles and airtime' and follow the prompts to select the type of bundle (i.e. data), the number you want to buy it for (you can buy bundles for your loved ones or for your own phone), the size of the bundle (the number of MBs or GBs you'll need) and the payment method. (If you're a Contract or Top Up customer, the amount will automatically be added to your monthly bill.)
3. SMS the bundle size you want to 100. This is FREE from your Vodacom phone. For example: SMS "MyMeg 250" to 100. (Only valid for Prepaid customers.)
4. Dial *111# and follow the menu options. (Only valid for Prepaid customers.)
For more help, see Vodacom Online.
Are all data bundles the same?
You can either buy once-off or recurring data bundles. With a once-off bundle, you'll have the flexibility to add on data as you need it; but with the more cost-effective recurring option, you'll have peace of mind that you'll always have enough data.
How long does the data bundle last?
Data, unfortunately, doesn't last forever. Data purchased or allocated is valid for 30 days. For example: if you buy a MyGig 1 data bundle on 10 November, then the unused data will be carried over until 9 December. The data not used by 9 December will expire.
For more on data bundle offerings, go to Vodacom Online »
Log into My Vodacom to check your data balances and to buy data bundles at minimal cost and free of fuss.