Twitter and Facebook are ablaze this afternoon with the righteous anger of Cell C customers, who’ve taken to social media to claim foul as data prices for those on prepay tariffs rose by 13-33% at the start of February.

Cell C introduced new tariffs at the start of the year, and most took effect from the beginning of January. According to the company’s social media accounts, SMSs were sent out to Cell C subscribers about the change in pricing, and this page outlining the changes has been around since just before Christmas.

Still, that’s not stopped many complaining that they weren’t aware the changes are coming through.

Among other changes, where Cell C’s usual 50MB data cost R7.50, the price has now been moved up by R2.50 to R10. The company also added a new 25MB bundle at R6, with an in-bundle rate of 24 cents.

Below is the new pricing chart for its once-off pre-paid data bundles:

Cell C data
[Image – Cell C]
Cell C subscriber Rob Molaolwa asked the mobile operator about the 50MB bundle on Facebook, to which the operator replied “We have increased the data prices on the 01/02/2015. As part of our product rationalism we have increased prices to some products. In certain instances we have reduced prices or complimented the product with additional value. We continue to offer the most competitive prices in the market.”

It’s not a price rise across the board: Cell C has dropped some data rates for heavy users (see above) and contract customers, possibly signalling a shift from the current position in South Africa where prepay customers are generally better off than those on long contracts. In most other territories, it’s the other way round, as it’s usually more profitable to sign someone up for regular billing over 24 months rather than process lots of small transaction.

The Smartdata Prepaid 200MB a month bundle, for example, has been dropped from R189 to only R79, while the 500MB a month has been lowered from R499 to R449. Contract customers on Smartdata, meanwhile, are almost all better off – and now slightly better than Vodacom’s rival tariffs.

[Image - Cell C]
[Image – Cell C]
Cell C prepaid 2
[Image – Cell C]
If you didn’t get the text message from Cell C, or just curious, click here to have a look at the new pricing structure.

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.