The commission will announce this week that public hearings into data prices will begin in October and that it has been granted an eight-month deadline extension so it can successfully conclude its inquiry.
The commission’s inquiry‚ announced in August last year‚ was meant to have been wrapped up two weeks ago. It will now wrap up on March 31 next year.
Andreas le Roux of the DG Murray Trust‚ a grant-making foundation‚ has argued for zero-rating mobile data costs associated with accessing information‚ as well as apps and tools provided by public benefit organisations‚ to help benefit the 30-million South Africans living in poverty‚ “who according to Stats SA survive on R992 a month“.
“Currently 55% of South Africans would have to spend 15% of their income to buy a very modest 1GB of mobile data. The actual cost is much higher. More than one mobile network provider has‚ in recent months‚ aggressively marketed a 30MB bundle for R12‚ a price point that those living in poverty could possibly afford.
“Yet‚ this equates to R400 per gigabyte of data or over 40% of the monthly income of 30 million South Africans.”
He said it appeared mobile networks were taking advantage of poorer South Africans by charging them disproportionately high rates‚ with wealthier individuals qualifying for post-paid contracts paying approximately half the cost of 1GB prepaid mobile data.
Koketso Moeti and Paul Mason of Amandla.Mobi in their submission said “out-of-bundle” data prices were 10 times higher.