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JOHANNESBURG - The competition commission on Friday said the data market inquiry has been officially set in motion with the publishing of terms of reference (ToR) in the Government Gazette.

The Commission is set to call for submissions after 20 business days. Sipho Ngwema, Competition Commission spokesperson said the commission initiated the inquiry because it believes there are features in this market that prevent, distort or restrict competition within the sector.

“Through the inquiry, the Commission aims to determine what may cause or lead to high data prices with a view to ultimately making recommendations that will result in lower prices for data services.”

Ngwema said the inquiry has been initiated in response to a request by Ebrahim Patel, Economic Development Minister, who also has expressed concerns over high data costs and highlighted the importance of data affordability.

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“Our main objectives of the inquiry is to benchmark South African data services pricing against those of other countries; and establish whether data supply quality and coverage is adequate by international standards and the country’s developmental needs.

Ngwema said as per the ToR, the inquiry will assess among others the investment in infrastructure by operators and access to allocation of spectrum as they relate to data services price:

The inquiry is due for completion by 31 August 2018 and the Commission will then release its findings and recommendations.