South Africans on Wi-Fi hotspots amid high data cost

Hauwa Mustapha

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Studies by South African academics on mobile pricing suggest that the costs of mobile services, including data and voice calls remains among the highest in the world which shows a distorted and uncompetitive market.

South Africa’s mobile telecommunications industry has four major players, Onica Nonhlanhla Makwakwa, Head of Africa for Alliance for Affordable Internet says South Africa should consider access to affordable internet as a basic human right.

“It is really important to have affordable internet. One being that South Africa participates in all the forums and we know that access to the internet has been accepted as a basic human right. So, from that point of view, we need to make sure that every citizen affords and can be able to be online. “

In the last past years, South Africans started the data must fall campaign focused on exorbitant mobile data costs.

The country’s Competition Commission hears the complaints and it ruled that mobile data prices have to be slashed by up to 50% This Soweto resident connects to a local school’s Wifi.

He says even though data pricing has been reduced, access to internet is still expensive.

“When I am home, I’m always out of data. So one day I went out and saw some school pupils nearby who then informed me that there is Wifi available. So, I logged on and searched for the signal and found it. The school kids gave us the Wifi pin. So, we use the Wifi to search the internet, Facebook, Whatsapp and download whatever we need to download on the internet.”

On a continental scale, thee World estimates that Africa will require an investment totalling 100 billion US dollars to plug every citizen into the internet by 2030.



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