SA's mobile data services most expensive in the world

4 November 2016


While the 2016 South African Consumer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for Mobile Data Service Providers has revealed one of the lowest industry averages recorded ( 59,2%), Christophe Meunier, a Johannesburg-based partner at advisory and investment platform Delta Partners, cautioned that there are several factors to consider when it comes to mobile data consumption in South Africa - including network speed and coverage.

The 2016 SAcsi for Mobile Data Service Providers benchmarks customer satisfaction through an internationally recognised model to achieve an overall result out of 100. The index provides a weighted average of the various aspects of a customer's experience with the mobile data service provider, and the degree to which the product or service has met, fallen short of, or exceeded their expectations.

According to the Index MTN's customers show the lowest loyalty to their brand with a score of 54.7%, down almost 10% from 2015, followed by Telkom Mobile at 59.2% compared to 67.7% last year. Cell C and Vodacom compare well with the customer loyalty industry average (59.2%) with scores of 61% and 61.6% respectively, albeit low in comparison to other industries measured in the SAcsi.

"South Africans are limited to a handful of mobile data service providers who are among the most expensive in the world. This frustration is evident in the ongoing #DataMustFall movement that adds impetus to the views that South Africans have held for years: they feel ripped off by high data costs, and will move to a more cost-effective service provider without hesitation," says Professor Adré Schreuder, CEO of Consulta.

According to Research ICT Africa report on the state of prepared market – cost of communication, Zimbabwe's cheapest monthly 1GB data package is set at US$30.

ICT experts in Zimbabwe have described mobile data prices in Zimbabwe as very expensive when compared to South Africa.

Meunier acknowledged that South Africa shows a relatively high mobile data price as opposed to some other African countries, but added that despite the high price, the service provided is amongst the best on the continent.

"South Africa has more pervasive mobile coverage and mobile data speeds than most other African countries. In addition, service quality and reliability is notably better than in markets like Nigeria," he said.

Meunier added that operators are running the risk of losing relevance in the eye of the consumer.

He explains that the time spent on smartphone on operator services is decreasing relatively to the total time spent, when voice and SMS was 80% of the time spent on the phone, consumers understood the value offered by operators.

"People are being rapidly being exposed to global, innovative and often best-in-class business models (e.g. Uber, Netflix). These global players are held to a higher standard than local players and deliver as such. People expect services to "come-to-them" or be ready when they need them, therefore increasingly impatient and access to on-demand services is hampered by poor connectivity, making it that much more noticeable," he adds.

Source: ITWeb Africa 31 October 2016