How many South African cellphone networks are there?

South African cellphone networks. How many of these networks are there in South Africa? And, if you are looking for your first phone, you might wonder which network to choose.

This can be a hard decision because not all the networks are equally great and affordable. You want to get value for money and be able to connect with friends and family. For most people, this isn’t a hard decision; they normally use the same network as friends and family. However, we are going to make sure that you are choosing the right network for you and your budget.

How many South African cellphone networks are there?

There are a couple of South African cellphone networks. However, most people are only using one of the top four networks available.

So, basically, there are four cellphone networks you can choose from. They are:

  • Vodacom
  • MTN
  • Cell C
  • Telkom

It is important to know that you want to make sure about the service you are going to get from the chosen network before you buy your new sim card. When reading reports of consumers, there are some of these networks that are really giving bad customer service, and this isn’t the network that you want to consider.

A quick guide to each of the South African cellphone networks

Here is a quick guide to each of the South African cellphone networks. This is to make it easier to decide which network would give you everything you need.


Vodacom was the first GSM network in South Africa. It launched in 1994. They are still one of the leading networks but aren’t classified as the best anymore. They are also known as one of the more expensive cellphone networks you can choose. These are the prepaid prices for Vodacom:

  • Vodacom prepaid is 79c per minute for local calls. It is getting billed per second
  • Their SMS is 50c per SMS all-day
  • SMS to Telkom landlines 90c per SMS
  • International SMS is R1,74 per SMS
  • Data is 49c per MB


MTN was the second GSM network in South Africa. At the moment, this is the most popular network currently in South Africa. And most people prefer making use of this South African cellphone network. At the moment, they have a subscriber case of 33,5 million phone and data users. These are some of MTN’s prices for the Pay per second deal.

  • Their prepaid call rate is 99c per minute. However, this is for all networks. Even Telkom landlines
  • Their SMS is 50c per SMS, locally
  • Data is 49c per MB

They have different pay-as-you-go deals that offer different prices per minute and per SMS.

Cell C

Looking at Cell C reviews from consumers, it is known that Cell C doesn’t have good customer service. They aren’t the cheapest, and they don’t have good coverage in all the provinces. Looking at their prices, you will get mixed results. Their calls per minute are more expensive, but their data are the cheapest. Here are their prepaid deals

  • Their call rate to any local network at any given time is R1,50 per minute
  • Their SMS to any local network at any time is 50c
  • International SMS is R1,74
  • Data is 29c per MB

It is important to know that this is just their basic per minute rate. Different package options give you different price options.

Telkom Mobile

This is the latest South African cellphone network. Telkom was only a landline provider, but they now have the option for mobile networks and internet networks as well. However, comparing prices, they aren’t the cheapest network on the market. In fact, they are the most expensive, and many people don’t like using Telkom because of their customer service. They also have the worst reviews of all four networks.

  • The peak time call rate is R1,89 per minute for all networks, and the off peak is R1,17.

These are the only prices that we could find. They don’t tell consumers their fees per SMS, per MB data, or international fees.

List Of Mobile Network Operators In South Africa – 2022 | ZaR (

When it comes to the South African cellphone networks, you will find that Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom are the four most popular ones on the market. However, this doesn’t mean that they are all equally great and recommended. Some are a lot more expensive than others. And, when it comes to customer service, there is one that is a lot worse than anyone else. Over the next couple of weeks, we will continue writing about the networks, making sure that you get all the information about the cellphone networks.