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‘Number of people are unable to afford current mobile data prices’

SABC News data - ‘Number of people are unable to afford current mobile data prices’

The Executive Director of ICT Africa, Alison Gillwald, says a large number of people who are unable to afford current mobile data prices are set to gain significantly from the Competition Commission’s latest order to Vodacom and MTN.

The Commission has warned the firms that they now have two months to reduce mobile data prices by 30 to 50% – or face prosecution. This after an international benchmark found that mobile data prices in South Africa are excessive.

Gillwald says further steps need to be taken to help make more tech services and devices affordable.

“The problem is that the people who are not online, the half of the population who are not online, cannot afford these services. So what we really had to do was look at the demand side aspects of affordability. The real barrier we find is the cost of devices, and that is not addressed. So while the reduction in the cost of data is going to be very good for those who are already online, it doesn’t help getting people who cannot afford the devices and services online. We have to address that problem by allowing new entry points into the market by dynamic spectrum allocation,” says Gillwald.

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