VODACOM’S NEW RED & SMART PACKAGES – RADICAL ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION OR JUNK STATUS?

April 05, 2017

Vodacom has just unveiled a refresh to their existing Red & Smart contract packages as well as offering up a new variant of their high-end Red packages.

While Vodacom’s entry-level Smart packages cater to the post-paid masses, their Red packages are targeted at the upper-end of the cellular market. And although subscriptions for these packages are more expensive than the Smart packages, they come with significantly more airtime and data. Vodacom has also added some additional benefits to Red subscribers such as free phone loans, 24/7 premium service desk support, and priority queuing at selected Vodacom stores.

So, how have these packages changed?

Vodacom have increased the prices of all their Smart + packages, in return for some additional voice minutes. Data however is “the man of the hour”, and it seems that Vodacom, for the most part, hasn’t done anything to quench the thirst of the data-hungry masses.

What Vodacom is offering them though, is a heavily discounted Red More Data package. Although not cheap, at R749/month (down from R999), this package comes with 150 minutes and a whopping 10GB of data, and is definitely worth considering if you’re a heavy data user.

Vodacom’s other Red packages are being offered at the same price as before, but now come with a lot more data (the Red Classic+ comes with 500 more minutes and 2 GB more data for an extra R200 a month, the Red Premium + comes with 10GB rather than 4GB, and the Red VIP+ comes with double the initial 10GB on offer). The Red Premium+ also now as unlimited calls included. There is also one additional package that has been added to the Red range – the Red Select+, which costs R999 and comes with 800 minutes and 2GB of data, and slots in quite nicely between the Smart + and the Red packages.

Will these new packages bring about radical economic transformation for their users?

While the more innovative mobile network operators are offering data-centric packages, such as Telkom’s FreeMe contracts, Vodacom is still lagging behind and not bothering to add much flavor to their vanilla packages. Although high-end Red subscribers are now being blessed with more inclusive data, the Smart users – with contracts under R589/month - will have to make do with under 1GB of data included in their packages.

While cheaper deals can be found across all networks, Vodacom has shown a reluctance to compete when it comes to price, rather touting their allegedly superior network quality as a reason for the higher prices.

So for South Africans looking to tighten their belts, especially considering the tough economic times we find ourselves in, we recommend MTN’s My MTNChoice + packages, Telkom’s FreeMe packages, or Cell C’s Pinnacle contracts. If, however, you prefer your SIM-card in a deep shade of Red, these new packages may be worth a second look.

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