In early December last year, the Competition
Commission released a report which found that data prices in South Africa are way too high.
South Africans are paying more per gig than most other African countries.
In fact, Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel described our data prices as “anti-poor”. Well, at least that is something we agree on!
These days data is not a luxury, it is a necessity.
It keeps us connected and is a vital part of our daily lives.
Though we do use data for recreational social media interaction like Facebook and Instagram, that is not the core of our online presence.
Most school and bursary applications are done online. Distance learning is done online.
AGREE: Min. Ebrahim Patel
Children use the internet for assignments, which counts towards their examination mark.
Vacancies are posted and replied to online. Businesses are run online.
We receive statements, notifications and all our info online, We buy, sell and get paid online. EVERYTHING is done online!
More importantly, we keep in touch online. With the world being as crazy as it is, as a mother I would lose my mind if I could not keep tabs on my children’s whereabouts (especially via WhatsApp).
This costs data - for me and for them - and data costs money.
Sadly, it is the poorer sector of society who is paying more for data.
Think about it - if you had a steady job with a monthly income and a clear credit record, you could apply for a cellphone contract.
However, if you don’t - then you will be buying prepaid airtime and data at far higher prices than what contract customers are paying.
COMPARISON: Rich contract holders pay less for data.
The poor are being penalised while the rich profit and prosper!
In 2019, MTN CEO Rob Shuter earned R42.92 million, including
a basic salary of R15.28m and bonuses and other benefits exceeding R26m.
Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub took home a pre-tax pay cheque of R38.3m (down from R50.3 million in 2018).
Sebastien Alexanderson, CEO of National Debt Advisors, says
that the amount included for data in the household budgets of
consumers is on the rise.
“It is a fact that those who can least afford to pay hundreds of rand on data every month, are the ones having to do it. People should not be faced with the choice of electricity or connectivity - and currently, with load shedding, many have neither!”
I have compared some data prices across the four major
networks and discovered the
1GB once-off prepaid costs R149
1GB x 24 months costs R79 per month
1GB x 12 months costs R89 per month
1GB costs R149 for 30 days
MTN 24-MONTH CONTRACT
My MTNChoice 1GB
1GB Anytime costs R69 per month +1GB Night express
CELL C CONTRACT
R79 per month x 12 or 24 months
Includes Monthly Nite Data 1GB
Includes Monthly Anytime Data 1GB
CELL C PREPAID
Unlike any other data bundles, these bundles do not expire for as long as you buy another data
bundle within the validity period. Your data will be carried over to the new validity date.
1GB costs R100 for 30 days + Includes 2GB Nite Data
Once-off 1GB Anytime data for R100+ 1GB Night Surfer Data (Midnight - 7am)
Valid for up to two months
1GB Anytime Data costs R40 per month for 24 months +1GB Night Surfer Data
(Midnight - 7am).
This comparison is simply for the sake of pricing and does not take network coverage or network
“specials” into account.
What we can see from this, though, is that prepaid customers are paying a lot more than contract customers. In other words, hulle vat ons vir alles!
Dear Competition Commission - please start showing us results instead of reports and get your suggestions to the cellphone giants implemented.
We want action. Data prices must fall!