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Mobile data is essential - for business, for fun, for social networking. Although the cost of data has actually dropped significantly, it still forms a important part of our monthly budgets. So what contributes to the cost of data?

Infrastructure

Data, like your mobile phone signal, doesn’t just materialise in the air. It requires high-tech towers - and the more towers there are, the stronger the signal, meaning faster speeds and a more stable connection. Find out more about how cellphone towers work here. Not only was Vodacom the first South African network to launch 3G and 4G, but we’re also recognised as SA’s Best Network* and SA’s Fastest 4G Network. In the past financial year alone, Vodacom spent over R8.9 billion on improving the South African network, becoming Africa’s first mobile operator to cover over 80% of the population with 4G.

South Africa has an area of 1,22 million square kilometres, and with 43 million customers scattered around the country - that’s a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of cellphone towers to build and maintain. While data towers in busy urban areas generate a lot of traffic, an extensive rural network is expensive to maintain, but doing so ensures all our customers are confidently connected. (Trust us, you’ll be grateful if you ever break down in the middle of nowhere.) These are just some of the factors which add to the cost of running our superior network.

Spectrum

Allocation of spectrum has been a long and heated debate in South Africa. Basically, spectrum works like your radio. There is a limited range of frequencies available, and the allocation of spectrum is controlled by ICASA (The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa). The migration of television signal from analogue to digital would free up a huge amount of spectrum, but unfortunately that process has been hampered by delays. The more spectrum ICASA allocates to players in the market, the cheaper data would inevitably become. The cost of spectrum is determined by each country’s regulator. If the cost of acquiring spectrum is lower, the cost of data is usually positively impacted.

How to get the best deal

Want to get the most of your data rand? Vodacom has many promotional bundles that can help you save. Vodacom Tickets, for example, allow you to use your favourite websites and apps, such as social media. Read more about Vodacom Tickets here. Be #Datawyze and check out all our data saving tips on Vodacom now!.

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