Dominant operators’ data prices remain static while SA struggles to get and stay online
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- Solutions or Strategies
- Internet Access, Affordability And Use
Trends: The cheapest 1GB of data in South Africa, offered by Telkom Mobile (ZAR99), costs seven times more than Egypt’s cheapest, and three times that in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. Although only half the population has access to the Internet, the penetration rate in South Africa is signiﬁcantly higher than any other African country surveyed in 2017. Challenges: Data prices remain unaffordable to the majority of people in South Africa, where 47% of the population does not use the Internet, according to RIA’s 2017 After Access Survey. Despite numerous public hearings on the cost of data, the new regulations announced by ICASA do not address this signiﬁcant problem. Enablers: Network coverage and service quality appear to retain even price-sensitive consumers, who may be attracted to Rain’s new, incumbent-challenging 5c per MB offering. Solutions: The regulator needs to be permitted to assign the high-demand spectrum required for LTE/4G rollout urgently and this assignment should be done in such a way that it ensures any 3G coverage gaps are closed before operators can deploy any newly assigned spectrum.
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