South Africa’s four major mobile network operators are providing uncapped data at very competitive prices to government employees as part of a new transversal mobile communications services contract.

Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, and Cell C have announced that they had been appointed as providers in the government’s RT15-21 contract.

The tender for bidders for this contract was originally put out by National Treasury in October 2020.

To be considered for the contract, the providers had to be able to offer users uncapped data packages without a fair usage policy (FUP).

In addition, civil servants must be able to purchase personal voice and SMS bundles at a flat rate from the provider, up to a maximum of R500 per user per month.

The successful providers needed to be able to provide 3G network coverage of at least 80% of the population at the start of the contract, with plans in place to grow to 100% coverage.

The contract will be in effect for five years – running from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2026.

It succeeds the previous agreement – RT15-16 – which government had in place with Vodacom since 2016.

Under that contract, the country’s largest operator had the exclusive right to provide government’s mobile packages.

It offered enterprise-style bundling which had departments sharing allocations of data and voice minutes.

According to a contract circular provided to organs of state by the National Treasury, civil servants will now be able to choose from eight different mobile packages – two from each operator.

Vodacom will continue supplying its Always Connected Anytime and Always Connected Work Plus packages, while MTN will be providing Enterprise Sharing and Business All Day plans.

Cell C will be offering Pinnacle and Epic packages, while Telkom will let state entities choose from Naledi Gold and Naledi Platinum packages.

These plans will be offered on device only, SIM-only, or device and SIM plans.

State entities who wish to make use of the transversal contract will need to acquire details on the packages available from all of the service providers, but will be free to choose products from any of the providers.

The subscription periods for the plans should be flexible from a minimum of six months to a maximum of 48 months (four years).

Cheap prices

The documentation included in the circular from National Treasury provided an overview of the packages operators are offering government entities.

This showed a number of mobile plans with very cheap pricing.

For example, a Cell C Epic R150 SIM-only contract is available to government entities at R278 per month, which includes:

  • Uncapped data without an FUP
  • 1,000 voice minutes between Cell C and Cell C numbers
  • Unlimited SMSs
  • R150 airtime
  • Unlimited voice minutes within a closed user group

Alternatively, a user could opt for the MTN Enterprise Share contract at R416 per month, which offers:

  • Uncapped data without an FUP
  • 600 voice minutes
  • 100 SMSs
  • Unlimited voice minutes within a closed user group
  • Unlimited SMS within a closed user group

If an employee requires a smartphone for the work-purposes alongside their SIM, they can subscribe to a 24-month contract on Telkom’s Naledi Gold plan at R500 per month. This will include:

  • Uncapped data without an FUP
  • 20GB data streaming bundle
  • 200 voice minutes
  • 1000 SMSs
  • Unlimited voice minutes in a closed user group
  • A mobile device