Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Cape Town - Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel announced on Thursday in Parliament that the Competition Commission will launch a market inquiry into high data costs.

Patel told journalist ahead of his Budget vote speech that the inquiry by the Competition Commission has been necessitated by the high data costs.

The telecommunications industry has been under pressure from last year after calls for a reduction in the costs of data in the country.

The portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services also conducted public hearings in Parliament on high data costs last year.

Patel did not give details on when he will approach the Competition Commission to investigate data costs.

“I will be making a request to the Competition Commission to launch an inquiry into high costs of data,” said Patel.

Early this week Patel said in a written Parliamentary reply he was going to address the issue of competition in the telecommunications industry.

This followed the decision of the Competition Commission not to prosecute MTN and Vodacom for anti-competitive behaviour last month.

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This happened after Cell C lodged a complaint with the Competition Commission in October 2013 against the two mobile operators, alleging that they were involved in anti-competitive behaviour.