South Africa: amongst highest data prices in Africa

Issued by Tsholofelo Bodlani MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Communications and Technologies
10 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Tsholofelo Bodlani MP.

Minister Mondli Gungubele, when asked about the costs of data and data coverage, stated that South Africa have the most expensive mobile data in the region and ranked 34th out of 47 countries in the Research ICT Africa Mobile Pricing (RAMP).

According to the Minister, only 77.5% of all households have access to the internet in some basic form. However, the criterion for this study only requires that one person in an entire household must have some basic form of access for that household to be counted. Millions of South Africans are thus still without any form of internet.

This is exacerbated by the fact that South Africa sits at number 34 out of 47 countries in Africa in terms of data pricing. What this means is that even where ordinary South Africans have access to the internet, data prices make it completely unfeasible for any major benefits to be derived.

Last month, the DA revealed that the Minister’s regulations to the Electronic Communications Act, which require any entity wanting to apply for Radio Frequency Spectrum, Individual Electronic Communications Network Service (I-ECNS) and an Individual Electronic Communications Service (I-ECS) licence must have at least 30% equity ownership held by persons from historically disadvantaged groups. BEE regulations such as these do not assist actual disadvantaged groups but instead, only benefit ANC cadres.

It is regulations such as these that prevent international and local telecommunications companies from investing in South Africa, and by association, its education and future, and is the reason why only (at least) one person in 77.5% of households has some basic form of internet access.

South Africa has a poverty and unemployment pandemic, especially amongst its youths, and to continue to block technological investment into this country for the mere fact that a company is not 30% owned by ANC cadres is criminal.

The DA calls on Minister Gungubele to scrap these regulations and inhibitors of progress and open licensing to any person or entity who is capable and up to the task.

South Africa can only fully embrace the digital age once freed from corrupt ANC rule.