Vodacom and MTN must cut their data prices by between 30% and 50% within two months or face prosecution, the Competition Commission said on Monday.
Both companies operate across Africa, so like-for-like comparisons are possible.
Only in the DRC ($8) does Vodacom charge its customers more, on average, for a gigabyte of data than in South Africa ($7.83).
By contrast, in Mozambique, the mobile operator charges customers only $2.19 on average for per GB.
MTN ($10.08 per GB, on average) charges South Africans far more than anywhere else on the continent.
It’s second most expensive pricing is in Rwanda where a GB of MTN data costs only $5.63 on average.
South Africa ranks 143rd in the world in terms of average data costs ($7.19), according to this study.
India has the cheapest data in the world ($0.26).
Knott-Craig discussed the Competition Commission’s findings and what happens when you give poor South Africans free data.
If people are using the internet in townships and rural areas, they’re mostly using it for educational purposes. Literally, as an alternative to going to school…— Alan Knott-Craig (Jnr), Executive Chairman - HeroTel
If you’re poor, you’re paying 80 times more than a contracted customer… We’ll have to have some kind of state support…— Alan Knott-Craig (Jnr), Executive Chairman - HeroTel
…Providing loan funding on good terms to companies that want to service rural areas… The opportunities are not sitting in the metros… We roll out infrastructure in those places; it’s not hard to make a profit!— Alan Knott-Craig (Jnr), Executive Chairman - HeroTel
The Competition Commission ruling is not going to solve the problem, because if it goes through it’ll force the operators to make a loss…— Alan Knott-Craig (Jnr), Executive Chairman - HeroTel
Listen to the interview in the audio below.
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