According to Allison Gillwald, Director of Research at ICT Africa, communication costs cannot be understood until the regulator has a proper market review so it can regulate effectively.
Finding out the real cost of communication and bringing down data costs can only be done if government and industry are not "at loggerheads", she explained.
Currently, prices are shifting, but Gillwald explained that prices are only one aspect of policy - others include coverage and quality.
The cost of 1GB of data in Tanzania, for example, is $3, while in SA, it's $7,20, but Tanzania has only 3% penetration, while SA has 60%.
Money is going back into building the new networks we need, which is what pushes up the prices.
Vodacom's prices stayed the same, but MTN and Cell C's prices have gone up. ... The real way we need to bring down prices is to get effective policy with incentives around investments...that it is effectively regulated so that the market is more competitive.— Allison Gillwald, Director of Research ICT Africa
The industry is regulated for a reason. We've got to allow the regulator to get on and regulate the sector independent of state capture and independent of industry capture and at various times its wafted into both.— Allison Gillwald, Director of Research ICT Africa
Take a listen to Allison Gillwald, Director of Research ICT Africa, sketch the reasons for our currently very high communications costs: