LIFESTYLE

Dear South Africans Pulling Their Hair Out About The Cost Of Data, We Got You -- ICASA

Voice out your frustration at the public hearings in September.

22/08/2017 14:08 SAST | Updated 22/08/2017 16:09 SAST

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) says South Africans should know that it's dealing with the crisis of high data costs in the country.

ICASA, which launched an inquiry into this matter earlier this year, will soon hold public hearings into the costs of data and everyone is invited. The authority's spokesperson, Paseka Maleka, told HuffPost SA that the hearings will most likely take place in September.

The inquiry follows public outrage concerning the high prices, which saw South Africans taking to social media under the hashtag DataMustFall.

South Africa, compared to other countries pays relatively higher data costs. For example, while Vodacom charges South Africans up to R270 for a 2GB data bundle, consumers in Tanzania pay less than R100 for the same package.

The authority has acknowledged this and has expressed support for consumers calling for the costs to come down.

The organisation told Parliament earlier this month that the inquiry, to be finished in 2018, would hopefully help reduce the cost of data.

Maleka told HuffPost SA that they have finished the first phase, which was a market study. Currently underway is the second phase, which is a discussion document. "It is a 45 working day process, where all interested stakeholders will submit comments," Maleka said.

Parallel to this is also a market inquiry most recently launched by The Competition Commission. The commission initiated the inquiry because it believes "there are features in this market that prevent, distort or restrict competition within the sector."

It hopes to determine what may cause or lead to high data prices and then make recommendations that will hopefully result in lower prices for data services.

Maleka is confident that both these inquiries which are long overdue, will go a long way in resolving the issue of data costs in the country.