Data costs still too high in South Africa
11 March 2019
Cape Town - The cost of data in South Africa is exorbitant compared to other African countries although mobile network operators moved to implement regulations related to the use of data this week.
The high prices warranted an investigation into how they could be lowered by looking into any possible abuse of pricing regulation, Research ICT Africa has warned.
The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) charter regulations for new end user and subscriber services that came into effect on Friday oblige network operators to:
- allow the rollover of user’s unused data, if requested, beyond the validity period.
- allow the transfer of data between users if they send it to contacts on the same network.
- from mid-April allow users to opt out of out-of-bundle data charges.
- notify users of the depletion of their data bundles at 50%, 80% and 100% intervals.
But the cost of data remains high compared to other African countries.
In a country where mobile broadband had become the dominant means of access and where mobile operators claimed to have covered close to 100% of the population with their networks, Research ICT Africa said it would take policy implementation by government to ensure that the cost of data was made affordable to citizens and help them benefit from the digital economy and society.
“So if we expect South Africa to bring its entire population online as a first step to helping the country benefit from the digital economy and society, then reducing the costs of access is essential,” the organisation said.
It also said lack of leadership and dearth of policy implementation had left the mobile operators with the freedom to charge more than what coulsh be charged.