News / South Africa

Makhosandile Zulu
2 minute read
18 Oct 2018
4:48 pm

ANC to make submissions at inquiry into data prices

Makhosandile Zulu

The governing party says the steep cost of data should urgently be reduced has it negatively impacts workers, youth, students and women.

ANC banner. Picture: Twitter

The governing African National Congress (ANC) has called for the cost of data to be urgently lowered as its current steep prices negatively impact the country’s citizenry, “especially workers, youth, students and women”.

The party said in a statement: “As a result of the high cost of data, the majority of our people are unable to enjoy the benefits of the digital economy in our democracy. It further stifles the growth and development of small businesses.”

The governing party makes this call as the Competition Commission holds its market inquiry into data services and prices in Pretoria.

In a statement, the Competition Commission said: “The Market Inquiry seeks to understand features in the market and the value chain that may cause or lead to high prices for data services. It also seeks to make recommendations that would result in lower prices for data services.”

The ANC’s head of elections tweeted today that the governing party would make submissions at the inquiry tomorrow.

https://twitter.com/MbalulaFikile/status/1052920510340829185

In its statement today, the ANC said it believes that reducing the cost of data would be a catalyst for economic growth, unlocking economic opportunities that would lead to job creation.

“The ANC encourages the government to take urgent steps to ensure full implementation of all policies and regulations in support of the #DataMustFall campaign, working together with the regulator [Independent Communications Authority of South Africa] and all mobile operators in our country,” the governing party said.

The SABC reported that the four major mobile operators in South Africa, namely, MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom, were expected to testify at the inquiry today.

The broadcaster further reported that in South Africa, 1 gigabyte of data costs an estimated seven times more than the cheapest price in the rest of the continent.

The governing party called on relevant stakeholders to take urgent steps to ensure the implementation of policies and regulations in support of reducing steep data prices.

“We urge the regulator and mobile operators to move swiftly in finding an amicable solution on the disputes surrounding regulations on the ‘Code of Conduct for Electronic Communication Services’,” the ANC said.

The governing party said it had been encouraged by some mobile operators who have lowered their data prices.

“However, this is not enough. The mobile operators must demonstrate goodwill and lower data prices and allow government to resolve the allocation of new spectrum.

“The release of spectrum international mobile telecommunications services [IMT-Advance] is expected to also accelerate the rollout of broadband networks in rural areas, particularly the wholesale Wireless Open Access Network [WOAN] earmarked in the policy.”

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