SA consumers still face high data costs
ON a separate matter, South African consumers continue to pay a higher price for data than those in many African countries, according to a report released by Research ICT Africa on Friday.
Despite frequent complaints from consumers about the high cost of data and recent social media campaigns, data prices have remained static for the past two years, according to the report.
The price of 1GB of data from major operators like Vodacom and MTN has remained consistent at between R149 and R160, the report found.
Vodacom raked in the largest da ta revenue at R21 billion in the 2016/2017 financial year, while Cell C earned R15 billion in the same period.
RIA’s Africa Mobile Price Index shows that the lowest price for 1GB of mobile data ranks South Africa 25 out of 49 African countries in the second quarter of 2017. This is down from 23rd at the end of last year.
In Egypt, the cheapest 1GB of prepaid data is sold at US$1,20, while the same product here is offered by Telkom for US$7,64 (R99).
According to the report, almost half of the SA population remains offline.
“A major contributing factor to this low Internet penetration could be the high cost of data products and smartphone devices.
“At the same time, consumers are not subscribing to the cheapest products, such as the 1GB data bundle offered by Telkom,” RIA said.
“Subscribers are not only concerned about the cost of going online; other factors such as quality coverage and speed appear to be something for which users are willing to pay a premium.”
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa last week announced that it will hold an inquiry into high data costs.