Data war in Parly



September 22, 2016
Data war in Parly

FIGHTING DATA COSTS: DJs Tbo Touch and Gareth Cliff

Cellular network giants faced tough questions from MPs.

Cellphone companies have defended the cost of data in Parliament, even claiming it had gone down in the last few years.

Yesterday public hearings into the costs of communication continued in Parliament before the Telecommunications Committee.

This follows the #DataMustFall movement on social media — led by businessmen DJs Tbo Touch and Gareth Cliff — over complaints on the high costs of data across the South African mobile networks.

Vodacom, Cell C, MTN and Telkom made presentations before the committee yesterday and faced tough questions from MPs.

Vodacom received a grilling over the expiration of its data and its high costs.

In response Jannie van Zyk said: “Data flows on the networks constantly and you can pick your data back in there at any given time and it’ll be carried on the stream. If you don’t pick your data in there or take data over network, that data is gone.”

The EFF’s Fana Mokoena countered by saying: “Vodacom hiding behind a lot of jargon, what we know for a fact is that you’re the most expensive network.”

Representatives from MTN told MPs the price of data had actually decreased by 73 percent in the last 14 years.

MTN’s Graham de Vries says issues like the rising electricity prices and the volatile exchange rate continues to drive prices up.

“Most of our network equipment is imported from overseas and it is therefore priced in dollars,” he explained.

But despite this, the network claims the price of data has dropped, and that there’s been a 58 percent decrease in voice rates since 2012.

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