Data prices: How SA compares to the rest of the world

2016-09-30 13:04 - Gareth van Zyl, Fin24
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Johannesburg - South Africa has the second highest data contract prices among a select group of seven countries, according to a study prompted by the local #datamustfall trend.

Research company Tariffic has compared the prices that South Africans pay for “data only” packages comparative to BRICS-member countries Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The study also compared South Africa’s data-only pricing to emerging African market Kenya and the first-world, developed market of Australia.

The prices were compared against the average data contract prices across all local mobile network operators and the results show that SA has the second highest data contract prices in the group, coming second only to Brazil.

Tariffic said that to ensure that it compared “apples-with-apples, all figures were rebased against the ‘Cost of Living index’”.

“Tariffic’s analysis shows that, once prices were converted to rands and re-based for the Cost of Living, South Africa was consistently the second most expensive for 1GB, 2GB, and 3GB data contracts, with Brazil being the most expensive in all three cases,” said Tarrific in a statement.   

“Data prices for South Africa were on average 134% more expensive than the cheapest prices in the group,” Tarrific added.

Tariffic further explained that it conducted its research by looking at all international data contract prices retrieved from the websites of the largest or second largest cellular operators in each country.

Prices for South Africa were further calculated by taking an average of the data contract prices - and not data bundle prices - from all four mobile network operators in the country.

“Where a certain country didn’t have a 1GB, 2GB, or 3GB bundle available, Tariffic extrapolated the theoretical price for this bundle based on other bundle prices offered by the operator,” explained the company.


Tariffic’s research comes after Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services last week held a two-day hearing on South Africa’s mobile data costs.

The hearing was sparked off by the #DataMustFall hashtag, which has gone viral on Twitter this month as social media users call for networks to slash local data prices.

READ: What happened to my data? Vodacom answers MPs

The hashtag was driven by radio personality Thabo “Tbo Touch” Molefe who said that South Africa’s data prices are “daylight robbery” and that data must fall. Stakeholders ranging from government, mobile networks, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) and the public gave their input at the hearings.

And Parliament could take the matter further by launching a debate on the topic in the national assembly, according to the telecommunications and postal services chair.

Tariffic’s CEO, Antony Seeff, said he agrees with Molefe that South Africa’s data prices are “daylight robbery” and that data must fall.

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