SA con­sumers still face high data costs

The Witness - - NEWS -

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.

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