Cape Town-181024 Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni leads his team to the National Assembly where he delivered the Mid Term Budget,next to him is his deputy Mondli Gungubele .Photographer: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

CAPE TOWN –  Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered his first maiden budget speech today in Parliament.

On the issue of data cost, the minister said that steps will be taken to decrease the costs of data. 

"In telecommunications, the proposed policy for the licensing of the high-demand spectrum has been gazetted. Frequencies to enable high-speed internet will be auctioned early next year. Steps will be taken to reduce data costs and improve data quality," said Mboweni.

Recently, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (Icasa) launched its market inquiry, which is aimed to help the regulator work out how and which features in the industry need to be regulated.

The Data Must Fall campaign started in earnest when the Competition Commission started hearings in Pretoria into high data prices.

At these hearings, service providers were reluctant to reduce the price of data.

However, Independent institutions submitted that exorbitant data costs affected the poorest of the poor the most. Poor South Africans forked out 10 to 30 times more for data, while their richer counterparts fared much better, they said.

These institutions stated that should there not be a gradual decline in data costs, the service providers would be denying people the right to gain access to information.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE