A call for Icasa to act urgently on regulating high data cost

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has announced its intention to initiate a process to look into the cost of mobile data.

Icasa spokesperson, Paseka Maleka says at the moment they are trying to gather as much information as possible from network operators in order to develop a discussion document.

The discussion document will be made public for a period of 45 days to allow interested parties to make comments. Soon after that, public hearings will be held to engage verbally with stakeholders, says Maleka.

The findings document will be put together which will determine a way forward on whether the industry should be regulated.

Read: Icasa kicks off probe into high data prices in SA

We do have that power to regulate the industry like we did with voice. it was over R1 ten years ago and now it is less than 20c.

Paseka Maleka, Icasa spokesperson

Maleka says their plan is to have a final document by end of March next year. Icasa is not only looking into the cost of data but will be looking at issues like unused data expiry dates and out of bundle rates which most mobile users are unhappy about.

It doesn't make sense at all. I mean you bought data in order to use it, but if you don't use it, you forfeit it. It doesn't make sense at all.

Paseka Maleka, Icasa spokesperson

Dominic Cull, Regulatory advisor at Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions, says it all well and good that Icasa will be looking at the high cost of data. However, he doesn't think the regulator is addressing this issue as a matter of urgency.

The minister has already issued a clear instruction to Icasa - they don't need a study to determine what the priorities are, looking at campaigns like #DataMustFall and other campaigns.

Dominic Cull, Regulatory advisor at Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions

They don't need to wait till next year...

Dominic Cull, Regulatory advisor at Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions

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