Experts agree with Competition Commission’s findings on data prices

The commission ordered network operators MTN and Vodacom to reduce data prices by at least 50% within two months or face prosecution.

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JOHANNESBURG - A few experts on Monday said the order by the Competition Commission that mobile networks must reduce data costs was the right one.

The commission ordered network operators MTN and Vodacom to reduce data prices by at least 50% within two months or face prosecution.

South Africans had been outraged by the prices of data and called on government to act to ensure that prices are reduced. The Competition Commission agreed and ordered MTN and Vodacom to reduce their prices.

Tech expert Arthur Goldstuck said networks had to decide how they would implement this.

“That is a valid argument if they didn’t have to read from spectrum, and rework their spectrum, they could offer data more cheaply. But, then you look at the issue of someone who buys a 60-gig bundle and they are paying a third of a cent,” he said.

Lawyer Amore Burger-Smit said operators could challenge this in court.

“The reality is that if we look at excessive pricing litigation before the Competition Tribunal, this is the type of litigation that could be dragged out for many years before the Competition Tribunal,” she said.

The commission said the monopoly by the two biggest networks needed to be broken.