Data must fall, says Telecommunications Minister

Siyabonga Cwele has briefed the media on his department's annual budget on Thursday which focuses on the cost to communicate.

Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele says South Africans must work together to ensure the price of data falls.

Cwele has briefed the media on his department's annual budget on Thursday which focuses on the cost to communicate.

He says the department's cost to communicate programme is going well, as citizens eagerly await a Competition Commission market inquiry to make recommendations on how much network operators can charge for data.

Cwele says next month the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) will release the findings of its market study into the mobile phone sector.

The regulator has already released regulations which do away with expiry dates that accompany data bundles.

“We urge Icasa to prioritise the broadband date market because data must fall,” he said.

Cwele has also touched on the state of broadband and how the cost of data in South Africa is still relatively high compared to other African countries.

He says this year his department will focus on connecting over 500 sites and expanding the country’s fibre network by 1,000km.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)