Policy Brief 6, 2014
South Africa remains one of the most expensive countries in RIA’s Broadband Price Index. But in the Broadband Value for Money Index, which measures price in relation to quality, South African operators perform better, with investment in high-speed 3G and LTE infrastructure seemingly paying off. The rapidly increasing number of broadband users and their increasing consumption of data as a result of data focused business growth strategies are already taking its toll on the average overall broadband speed in the country. In order to prevent any further degradation of broadband quality, it is imperative that the high-demand spectrum required for LTE services is urgently assigned to operators.
1. SA’s ranks poorly in RIA’s Broadband Pricing Index. A pure price comparison shows South Africa is one of the most expensive countries amongst the 12 African countries included in the Broadband Price Index with the prepaid 1GB basket costing R149 (USD14.1)
2. Vodacom SA is better placed in the Broadband Value for Money Index. Although Vodacom SA’s prices are high, so are their average speeds, pushing them up to 9th rank on the Broadband Value for Money Index, but down from 2 in the first quarter of 2014.
3. The average mobile broadband speed in South Africa is slowing down. Despite positive rankings on the first Broadband Value for Money Index in April 2014, broadband speeds, for Vodacom SA (and Cell C) have reduced significantly in the latest Ookla Speedtests.
4. LTE spectrum needs to be assigned to avoid network congestion. With the dependence of South Africa on mobile broadband in order to access the internet, the Ministry of Telecommunications and Post needs urgently to issue the long-awaited policy directive that has delayed the assignment of LTE spectrum.
Calandro, E., Gillwald, A., & Rademan, B. (2014). SA broadband quality drops but prices remain high (Policy Brief No. 6). Research ICT Africa. https://researchictafrica.net/polbrf/Research_ICT_Africa_Policy_Briefs/2014_Policy_Brief_6_Broadband-2.pdf