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South Africa: Vodacom, MTN ordered to lower data prices

South Africa’s Vodacom Group and MTN Group have been ordered by the country’s Competition Commission to lower data prices.

The two companies could face prosecution if they do not agree with the order in the next two months to lower data prices.

The watchdog launched an investigation in August 2017 following a request from the minister of economic Development.

There have been several complaints from consumers about high data costs.

The commission said in its report that there is evidence to suggest that there is room for price reductions in the region of 30% to 50%.

According to the report MTN and Vodacom must also reach agreement “to cease ongoing partitioning and price discrimination strategies that may facilitate greater exploitation of market power and anti-poor pricing.”

“With respect to the above recommendations on the level and structure of pricing, should an operator fail to reach the required agreements with the Commission within the specified timeframes, the Commission will proceed to prosecution under the appropriate sections of the Act,” The Commission said in a summary of its report.

In South Africa 1G of mobile data cost over 2% of the average income of consumers, which makes means data is not affordable for the ordinary citizen.

The A4AI defines affordability of data as 1GB of mobile broadband data costing not more than 2% of average monthly income.

However a report by the A4A1 showed that the average across Africa is 7.12% of average monthly income.

In other African countries, consumers continues to lament the high cost of data. In Ghana, consumers on Monday launched a campaign to push prices down.

The high cost of data means many would be cut off from being connected to the internet.


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