South Africa’s government supports the campaign against High data cost
As a result of high data cost in the country, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has shown its support for the campaign to bring down high data costs in the country, stating that lowering data cost in the country will bring about economic growth.
This action was made known by the ANC national spokesperson, Mr. Pule Mabe in an email he sent to Xinhua mentioning the governments support for data cost reduction as this will provide economic opportunities in the country.
According to a survey conducted by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), it was discovered that South Africa had the highest data cost among Africa’s biggest economies, and this might prevent investors from taken full advantage of the investment opportunities available.
In other countries where South Africa’s major communications operators are also active, it was discovered that data cost in South Africa is higher than those in the other countries. Some of the countries under review are Malawi, Mozambique, and Lesotho. And in Egypt, data costs are six times more expensive than those in South Africa.
Two main reasons identified by ICASA for the high data cost is lack of competition and Spectrum and this reasons might prevent the high data cost from dropping anytime soon.
MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom are the only major mobile communication companies competing for users in the countries and according to the survey conducted, this might not change soon, which might force data cost to increase.
The negative impact the high cost of data services has on ordinary South Africans, especially workers, youth, students, and women have been of concern to the ANC according to Mabe, and this resulted in the support for the #DataMustFall campaign already ongoing. He said,
“As a result of the high costs 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 ANC encourages the government to take urgent steps to ensure full implementation of all policies and regulations in support of the ongoing “Data Must Fall” campaign, working together with the ICASA and all mobile operators in our country.”
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