The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has thrown its weight behind numerous South Africans calling for a shrink in data cost – the #DataMustfall Campaign.
The campaign, which has now gone to the next level, was primarily launched following heartbreaking challenges faced by South African students when it comes to accessing information on the internet.
The #DataMustFall campaign made waves on social media last week after prominent South Africans like Tbo Touch, EFF’s Julius Malema, Western Cape mayor Helen Zille and others weighed in on the matter.
South African data costs are among the highest in the world. Reports had it that while 1GB (gigabyte) of data costs R11 in India, R32 in Namibia, R22 in Nigeria, South Africans cough up a whopping R150 per GB.
Parliament Intervenes In #DataMustFall Campaign
Sending a vehement warning to network providers in the country, Icasa challenged them to either step down the cost of data or watch the regulatory body do it for them.
Weighing in on the thorny matter, Parliament’s portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services chairwoman, Mmamoloko Kubayi, challenged network operators to either clip data costs within a month or the National Assembly will force them to do so.
“Operators can individually restructure their data plans between now and November or wait for our recommendation when we would make a pronouncement on what should happen with the high data prices. If they do not get back to us by November with restructured data plans, the committee will compile a report and send it to the National Assembly.”
Meanwhile, as at Friday, South Africa’s three major mobile networks, MTN, Vodacom and Cell C, declined to confirm whether they would heed to Kabuyi’s warning or not.
MTN also failed to answer why data costs were so high in South Africa unlike their Ghana mobile data prices when its representatives appeared in Parliament.