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.
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.