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Sat, 07 Dec 2019 08:43 GMT

S. Africa Imposes Regulatory Measures to Control Data Prices


7Dnews London - AFP

Tue, 03 Dec 2019 05:37 GMT

The competition regulatory authority in South Africa has announced that mobile operators who are overcharging on internet connectivity and usage are required to drop prices within two months or face prosecution, AFP reported on Monday, December 2nd.

In July 2017, protesters took to a social media blackout, ceasing any tweets, Facebook posts, or WhatsApp messages until noon local time, protesting the high cost of data, in addition to parliamentary hearings, according to local media source Quartz Africa.

Following a two-year investigation into the consumers' complaints, the commission has promised to explore solutions after findings showed that prices of data provided by the larger operators – Vodacom and MTN – were "too high" in the country in comparison to other counties.

In a statement provided by the commission, they called on all operator companies who are actively engaging in “exploitative price discrimination and partitioning strategies to push up margins and prices" to commit to price reductions within two months after the release of the report.

"There is scope for price reductions in the region of 30 to 50 per cent," the statement confirmed, and whoever fails to comply will thereby be subjected to prosecution.

The 26.8 million internet users in South Africa spend about 1% of their income on one 500MB mobile data bundle, according to a 2015 study by the International Telecommunications Union, Quartz Africa reported.