Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, says South Africa is on track for a fall in data prices. The Competition Commission was briefing the media in Pretoria on the Data Service Market Inquiry, sparked by protests over high data costs.
The Commission said the major players in the data market, MTN and Vodacom, need to agree to a substantial and immediate reduction in pricing.
Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams welcomed the report. “I am also happy colleagues to note that i see Vodacom and MTN here which also makes my job very easy because we receive this report it is upon ourselves to engage and see then that we find each other in terms of ensuring that the people of this country indeed have access to fair and credible communication as we are expected to do.”
The Competition Commission has found that mobile data prices in South Africa discriminate against the poor.
The Commission found that prepaid bundle prices are far higher than contract prices. It also found that the cost of smaller bundles far exceeds the bigger bundles.
The Commission has given Vodacom and MTN two months to reduce prices by 30% to 50% or face prosecution.
Commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele says there will be hefty penalties for the continuation of anti-poor data pricing. He says Vodacom and MTN could possibly be in violation of the competition act.
Click video below:
‘Government to help ensure reduction of data prices’
Trade Minister, Ebrahim Patel says government is prepared to do what is necessary to help ensure the reduction of data prices in the country.
“And so for all these reasons, reasons of growth, inclusion, development and democracy, it matters what happens to prices. The findings and recommendations of the competition commission will be carefully studied by ourselves and it will be reflected on and we will certainly back the actions that are necessary to help bring data prices down,” Patel explains.
To discuss further on the high cost of data is Hloni Theko of Pre-tuned Technologies. Watch below: