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How Mobile Data Works


What is Mobile Data? How do mobile data offerings differ from fixed line services?

What is Mobile Data?


Mobile Data, also commonly referred to as 3G is the collection of technologies that make use of the cellular telephone networks to provide broadband Internet connectivity.

Mobile Data fits into a number of roles in South Africa:

  • It provides on-the-go Internet connectivity to users with Smartphones, tablets and other portable devices, where they do not have access to conventional wifi networks.
  • It provides an alternative to fixed line ADSL connectivity for users in areas where ADSL services may not be available, or for users who do not wish to make the commitment to having a fixed telephone line installed.
  • It can also be used to supplement ADSL connectivity, or as a fail over for business users, who cannot afford downtime on their Internet access,


Primary differences between Mobile data and Fixed Line


The table below summarizes the major differences between Mobile Data and fixed line services:


Mobile Data

Fixed Line ADSL


Depends on Cellular Coverage

Depends on Telkom Exchange


Take Anywhere

Fixed at installed residence


Scales according to coverage from 170kbps (EDGE) up to 21mbps (HSDPA+) HDSPA speeds are also limited by device.

From 2-10mbps depending on exchange and cable length (20-40mbps VDSL at a handful of exchanges)

Data Packages

Low consumption capped packages, no real 'uncapped offering' in SA

High-end caps and uncapped products allowing hundreds of gigs per month.


Cost per GB and out of bundle rates relatively high, no packages suited to bulk downloading, or extensive video streaming, or online gaming.

Very cheap costs per GB and cheap uncapped. Suitable for bulk downloads, video streaming and serious gaming.


Choosing a Mobile Data Product


Choosing a mobile data product can be a daunting task, but really it does come down to 3fairly simple items:

  • How much data do you need? Try to consider your average types of activities and choose a data bundle to your needs. If all you're doing is WhatsApp and the occasional Facebook update and email you can probably manage with 500 mb to 1GB per month. If you're regularly uploading photos and video clips, or working with multiple large documents on the go on Dropbox, you'll probably need several GBs of data to get through the month.
  • What are the primary locations you'll be using it from? While mobile products are, well mobile and connectivity at a particular location simply cannot be guaranteed it is a good idea to consider the primary location you might be using the connection from and check the coverage maps.
  • How much are you willing to spend? Often the most important question, once you've answered the other two. Luckily at MWEB you will be spoilt for choice in this area. As well as offering our own flagship Mobile Data product in partnership with CellC,we also been resellers of Vodacom and MTN 3G products for a number of years and can guarantee you that you will find a Mobile Data product to meet all 3 of your requirements, for data coverage and price!

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