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#DataMustFall: Network companies call on govt to intervene

Parliament’s telecommunications and postal services committee wrapped up its two-day public hearing yesterday.

Picture: iStock.

CAPE TOWN - Some network companies have called on government to intervene to assist in bringing down the price of data.

Parliament's telecommunications and postal services committee wrapped up its two-day public hearing yesterday.

South Africa's major networks, watchdog Icasa as well as the Department of Telecommunications had an opportunity to address the committee, primarily focusing on the high price of data.

MTN says capital investment is needed to ensure the sustainability of the growing data market, suggesting that government incentivises such investments.

The network's Graham de Vries has added further possible cost-cutting measures.

"A few things that can be done here is the release of the much needed spectrum that will go a long way and also to ensure that those roll outs continue."

Meanwhile, Telkom's Siyabonga Mahlagu has called on Icasa to probe the competition in the market.

"We think Icasa must take care and conduct market reviews so as we discuss today, we'll know how the market is defined."

Cell C has made a similar comment, saying that despite its efforts to lower prices, it lacks market power to ensure other players follow suit.

Mmamoloko Kubayi, chairperson of the committee, says she is disappointed that no action has been taken following previous discussions on communication costs.

Kubayi said she had hoped to have seen some progress since the issue was first raised in 2013.

"From a policy and regulatory point of view, you could see the conversation was starting from afresh."