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Govt meeting with mobile operators to find ways to lower data costs

Earlier this month, the Competition Commission recommended that service providers reduce the price of data or face prosecution after finding that data prices in South Africa were excessively high.

Picture: Pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - Government is exploring cheaper data alternatives for South Africans.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that her department was meeting with mobile operators in a bid to find ways to lower the cost of data.

Earlier this month, the Competition Commission recommended that service providers reduce the price of data or face prosecution.

The commission's report found that data prices in South Africa were excessively high.

When the Competition Commission's findings were released, Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said it was clear that there was a problem in the market and that data prices were higher than they should be compared to elsewhere in the world.

On Thursday, Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams reaffirmed government's efforts to ensure a drop in communication costs.

"We are ensuring that we engage with the mobile operators in order to find the best ways to work together and make sure that our people get cheaper data costs."

Ndabeni-Abrahams said that this was vital to ensure people had access to information.

"This we do without interfering with the work of the regulators, both the Competition Commission and Icasa, which is the industry regulator and as policymaker it has to make sure that it brings all the parties together for the benefit of the citizens. We are engaging all the parties concerned."

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

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