Vodacom and MTN’s data prices are 'anti-poor'
The Competition Commission has recommended that both Vodacom and MTN reduce their data prices by 30% to 50%. The companies have been warned and threatened with prosecution.
James Hodge, the Competition Commission’s chief economist said the prices for lower bundles are more expensive than higher bundles and there is no persuasive explanation.
The report was released in Pretoria following advocacy by various civil society organisations.
The Commission cited that the economy will not grow if young people and those that live in rural areas do not have affordable access to data and information. According to the report,
current comparisons of the prices charged by Vodacom and MTN in other African markets in which they operate also reveal that South African prices are higher than most countries by some distance.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, said she looked forward to engaging with the relevant stakeholders on the report findings. The report will be tabled at the National Assembly within ten business days.
It also found that data prices from these two big companies were cheaper for people who had contracts than for prepaid customers. The report recommended that Vodacom and MTN reduce the price for data bundles to the same prices as for consumers with contracts.
The service providers have been given three months to make amendments. They also urged the government to ensure free wi-fi access to a wider range of people.