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South African mobile data prices may go to Competition Commission – Minister

Siyabonga Cwele, the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, has stated that high mobile data prices in South Africa may need to be brought before the Competition Commission. Cwele’s statement was contained in the department’s 2017/18 Budget Vote overview document. “The Minister issued a policy directive to ICASA to prioritise the commencement and conclusion of an inquiry and the prescription of regulations to ensure effective competition in broadband markets.

The response from the regulator suggests they will finalise this work in the next 2-3 years,” stated the department. “ICASA’s State of ICT Report seems to suggest a lack of competition, particularly by dominant players. The report indicates that data traffic increased by 55%, data revenue increased from R30 billion to R38 billion, the employment decreased by 4,000, yet prices remain sticky at the same level.”

“This situation may need the attention of the Competition Commission.”

“We appeal to operators to start competition in services to ensure the cost of data and voice calls falls to affordable levels or below 2% of average household income,” stated the department.

Operators have seen massive growth in mobile data usage in recent years, with Vodacom’s data customers up[1] by 8.3% to 19.5 million – and data traffic up 43.2% – in its past financial year.

Now read: Vodacom planning to cut out-of-bundle data prices[2]

References

  1. ^ data customers up (mybroadband.co.za)
  2. ^ Vodacom planning to cut out-of-bundle data prices (mybroadband.co.za)

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