South Africans are getting some good news this year. The Competition Commission has put out a report and results on a study that they have done clearly showing that data prices in South Africa are far too expensive, especially when you compare the South African data prices to other country’s data prices. The Competition Commission also noted that MTN and Vodacom are the biggest offenders when it comes to overpriced data.
“They found that there is indeed a competition problem in the market for data. The report notes that data prices are higher than they should be, and higher than in many other markets elsewhere in the world.” Said Patal.
Excessive Data Prices are Holding Our Country Back:
Expensive data pricing means that we have a limited number of people that can actually access the internet and we need everyone in South Africa to be able to get online to propel the economy forward. We don’t say this so that more South Africans can get on Facebook or even go online shopping but so that participants of the economy can educate themselves. The internet is the world’s biggest source of information and the South African citizens can’t afford to get on the internet for long enough to get any kind of learning done.
“If you think of the 20th century as a century that was reshaped by oil and steel, the 21st century is being reshaped by data,” Patel said.
“The academic literature, and studies by the World Bank have all indicated a strong relationship between data prices and access on one hand and economic performance on the other hand. If we want to grow the economy then we need to have the lowest possible data prices.
“Information and Communication Technologies are reshaping not just the digital economy but value chains across the economy. From food companies, banks and car makers, many parts of the economy have become increasingly reliant on integrated digital platforms to produce goods and services.”
Patal says that critical development areas like healthcare & skills development were very much impacted.
“Affordable consumers access to digital services – and, most importantly, for lower income consumers – is thus of critical importance to a functioning economy and democracy,” Patel said.
Read more about the Lifeline Data Packages (free data) that the Competition Commission is enforcing for South African citizens.