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SA Government Announces Plans to Drastically Reduce Data Costs in South Africa

Data Costs in South Africa

Data costs in South Africa are amongst the highest in the world. Costs so high that it greatly holds South Africans back from the potential of the internet. The South African Government revealed last night that within the next month, they will issue a policy directive to the communications regulator in order to tackle the high costs.

During the state of the nation (SONA) address, President Cyril Rampaphosa said the government will expand the hi-tech industry by ensuring the legal regulatory framework promotes innovation. This will be done by scaling up skills development for young people in new tech industries and reducing data costs.

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“Wherever we have gone, young people have continuously raised the issue of the excessive high data costs in SA. To provide impetus to this process, within the next month, the minister of communications will issue the policy direction to Icasa to commence the spectrum-licensing process,”

 

“This is a vital part of bringing down the costs of data, which is essential both for economic development and for unleashing opportunities for young people. We call on the telecommunications industry further to bring down the cost of data so that it is in line with other countries in the world,”

President Ramaphosa

The high cost of data in SA has been an issue for years. The lack of a “spectrum crunch” is to blame which refers to the radio signals used for data for mobile phones, TVs and GPSs. The resource is limited and controlled by the SA Government. In order to make more spectrum available, the local government will need to release and build on current infrastructure in SA which will go towards boosting competition in the telecommunications sector and reducing the cost of data.

This plan will most likely take a while to come into motion but it is a step in the right direction. South Africans pay almost 500% more for data in SA than other parts of the world and have the highest prices in Africa alone. Let’s hope data costs in South Africa will soon see a break and the #DataMustFall movement wins.

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