In announcing the department of communications and digital technologies’ portfolio changes and capacity, Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the department was in consultation with cellular networks to mediate an amicable way forward to accommodate consumers regarding data prices.
Government was in talks with mobile operators to ensure that all parties came together for the benefit of all citizens in ensuring reduced data prices. She said the key to driving a digitally transformed society was to ensure that costs to communicate were reduced and the department was engaging with mobile operators to make sure consumers “get cheaper data costs”.
“As the department, we want to find the best ways to work with mobile operators. This, we do without interfering with the work of regulators” such as ICASA and the Competition Commission.
“We want to make sure that we bring together the parties for the benefit of the citizens.”
Ndabeni-Abrahams said the department was also focused on fast-tracking the rollout of digital migration.
In December, the Competition Commission found that certain cellphone giants were ripping off data customers – badly.
Following a long-running inquiry into the prices of data, the Competition Commission demanded immediate reductions on tariff levels, especially on monthly bundles, which could afford to be reduced.
MTN has clearly stated that it would oppose the Competition Commission’s recommendations of lowering data prices.
The commission said Vodacom and MTN could face prosecution if they did not agree to lower data prices in the next month.
Gopolang Moloko / The Citizen