Radio personality Tbo Touch says he is shocked by what he describes as cellphone giants’ “long-lasting arrogance” when responding to the Competition Commission’s recommendation to reduce their high data prices or face prosecution.
During an eNCA interview to discuss the Competition Commission’s report, Tbo Touch – real name Thabo Molefe – asked: “What fuels networks to think they cannot submit to whatever the Competition Commission is recommending?”
He said he was shocked at the giants’ response as it indicated a certain level of arrogance.
— eNCA (@eNCA) December 3, 2019
Cellphone giants Vodacom and MTN have been given two months to reduce their high data prices, or face prosecution. They must also provide plans on how they will provide free data packages for all consumers.
The Competition Commission yesterday released its final report after starting the market inquiry on data pricing in August 2017, following concerns of high data pricing by the minister of economic development.
The findings confirmed that Vodacom and MTN charged South African consumers much more for similar data bundles than they did in other African countries.
Vodacom charged people in South Africa about R115 per 1GB, but in Egypt charged R18.20. MTN’s fee for a 1GB bundle was R148 in South Africa, but just R40 in Uganda.
Despite the recent price reductions, cellphone networks’ pricing was found to have discriminated against the poor, as pay-as-you-go customers paid more per bundle compared with contracted users, said commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele.
(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko, background reporting by Rorisang Kgosana)