Submission to South Africa’s Competition Commission on Data Market inquiry

Research ICT Africa

Dr Onkokame Mothobi, RIA’s senior researcher is participating in South Africa’s Competiton Commission inquiry into the market for data services in South Africa – Data Services Market Inquiry.

The inquiry serves to examine whether there are features or a combination of features in data services markets which prevent, distort or restrict competition and/or to achieve the purposes of the Competition Act, No. 89 of 1998 (as amended) (“the Act”) – (Competition Commission, 2018)

Watch Dr Mothobi deliver a presentation based on our submission to the Competition Commission above. The main points highlighted by RIA in the submission are as follows:

  • South Africa performs poorly in the RAMP Index, coming 35 out of 49 African countries. The cost of cheapest 1 GB in South Africa  (USD 8.28, ZAR 99) is eight times the cost of cheapest 1 GB in Egypt (USD1.13).  However, in a regulated data environment a number of  other important factors are to be considered when comparing prices such as coverage and coverage of services.
  • The dominance of MTN and Vodacom in terms of subscriber market share and revenue share allows these two operators to re-invest in their infrastructure and offer higher quality than the two small operators.
  • Coverage and quality of service are important, with even price sensitive users choosing to pay premium for quality of service.
  • Despite prices being high in South Africa as compared to other African countries, the After Access survey shows that South Africa performs well in Internet use, with about 53% of South Africans using the Internet.