Why Competition Commission probe won't bring down high data costs

Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele wants the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) and Competition Commissioner to conduct an inquiry into why South Africa's data prices for cell phones are so high.

Research ICT Africa director, Dr Alison Gillward, says the Competition Commission doesn't really have the expertise, and the inquiry into data costs may take a long time.

On the other hand, Gillaward says Icasa does not deal with the issue effectively because fundamental competition frameworks, as per legislation, is not properly followed.

The critical part of this competition environment is the undertaking of a market review, the establishment of dominance in this market and abusive dominance, if there is any.

Dr Alison Gillward, Research ICT Africa director

And until these are done, the complex factors that lead into the cost drivers and prices cannot really be assessed and prices be regulated effectively.

Dr Alison Gillward, Research ICT Africa director

Gillward says even if prices are regulated, there will still be large number of people who cannot afford to buy data.

Getting the price down is a far more complex process than the Competition Commission having to deal with it.

Dr Alison Gillward, Research ICT Africa director

I'm not sure if Competition Commission is gonna solve the problem, certainly not in the short term.

Dr Alison Gillward, Research ICT Africa director

Listen to the audio below to hear why four big networks may not be acting competitively...


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