President Cyril Ramaphosa preparing his speech ahead the SONA.
President Cyril Ramaphosa preparing his speech ahead the SONA. Image source: GICS

The South African government is negotiating with mobile phone operators for big data price cuts and free daily data allocation for users.

“The competition authorities are now working towards a resolution with the large mobile operators to secure deep cuts to data prices across pre-paid monthly bundles, additional discounts targeted at low-income households, the free daily allocation of data and free access to educational and other public interest websites,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

Delivering his State of the Nation (SONA) Address to a Joint Sitting of Parliament on Thursday, President Ramaphosa said this is an important step to improve lives, bring people into the digital economy and stimulate online businesses.

“The digital economy will increasingly become a driver of growth and a creator of employment,” he explained.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

The president added that the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution has made far-reaching recommendations that impact nearly every aspect of the economy – and in many areas of people’s lives.

He said the Commission’s report provides us with the tools to ensure that we extract the greatest benefit of these revolutionary technological changes.

“An important condition for the success of our digital economy is the availability of high demand spectrum to expand broadband access and reliability.”

The regulator, ICASA, has undertaken to conclude the licensing of high demand spectrum for industry via auction before the end of 2020.

“Because of additional requirements, the licensing of the wireless open-access network – or WOAN – is likely to completed during the course of next year.”

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