Preliminary report on data costs to be released before end of April

South Africans will by the end of the month get a glimpse into whether or not data prices in this country are higher than what they should be.

The Competition Commission intends to release its provisional report for the inquiry into data prices by April 30.
Image: iStock

The Competition Commission said on Monday that it intended to release its provisional report for the inquiry into data prices by April 30.

“The commission will invite submissions on the provisional report and will then engage in further consultations with key stakeholders before completing its assessment,” commission spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said.

In August 2017, the commission initiated a market inquiry into data services amid numerous complaints about data costs.

The commission requested comments on four questions:

  • Are data prices higher than they ought to be?
  • If they are, what are the factors that cause prices to be higher than they ought to be?
  • How should these factors be remedied?; and
  • What is the impact of data prices and access to data more broadly on lower-income customers, rural customers, small businesses and the unemployed? How important are affordable data prices for these customers?

The inquiry is expected to make recommendations that would result in lower prices for data services.

Although the commission announced in August last year that the inquiry would be completed by March 31 this year, this date will be extended until December 31.

The commission said it held public hearings in October last year that were aimed at further understanding the general state of competition in data services.

“However, having regard to the comments, submissions and information gathered by the inquiry to date, the commission has decided to further amend the completion date.

“This is to allow for further analysis of extensive evidence gathered by the inquiry, further consultations with key stakeholders, and to finalise a report of its investigation,” Ngwema said.

The Right To Know campaign argued at the public hearings last year that the outrageous cost of communication was undermining people’s basic rights to access and share information – their right to communicate.

BY  ERNEST MABUZA- TimesLIVE

Source: TMG Digital

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