However, mobile operators lashed back at the commission yesterday with Vodacom claiming Independent Communications Authority of SA research showed SA prices were not higher than comparable countries, and MTN saying it was “wrong” to blame networks for pricing levels. Telkom welcomed the findings, claiming that the market was a “duopoly”.
The report found that SA data prices were “anti-poor” and higher than in other parts of the world and that Vodacom and MTN’s data pricing was more expensive locally than in other markets where they operate. It highlighted the high cost of prepaid data used mainly by poor consumers who paid up to R150 a Gigabyte compared to contract data users who pay R10.
According to the recommendations MTN and Vodacom must within two months reach an agreement with the commission on price reductions for which there is scope for decreases of 30% to 50%.
SA National Consumer Union vice-chairperson Clif Johnston said the organisation welcomed the recommendations which were long overdue.