To: MTN, Vodacom, Telkom, Cell C, Dept of Communications, ICASA and the Competition Commission

Sign the campaign #DataMustFall

We the people and consumers of Mzansi are tired of being ripped off by mobile networks. We demand a cut in the cost of data by at least 50% before the 31st December 2017, and for an end to data, airtime and SMS bundles expiring after 30 days. We call on the ICASA, the Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services, the Competition Commission and the National Assembly to force mobile networks to adhere to this demand.

We also note the network coverage advantage MTN and Vodacom have over other networks and the duopoly this allows. We demand that we not be held at ransom because of this. If you fail to act, we will as consumers and citizens use our collective power to take this directly to the National Assembly for Members of Parliament to hear us.

Why is this important?

Researchers who took into account cost of living, have found that South Africa has the second most expensive data costs among BRICS countries [1]. Previously as reported by IOL, many have claimed that Mzansi’s data costs are the highest in the world: 1GB (gigabyte) of data costs R150 in Mzansi, compared to R11 in India, R22 in Nigeria and R23 in Namibia [2]. However, this comparison is not adjusted for cost of living, so in order to compare apples with apples.

Indra de Lanerolle, an expert whose research concerns Internet access, use and development and the Internet's social, political and economic effects, in South Africa and the continent, agrees with the call for a 50% cut on data costs when he asserts, "On three major networks (which account for more than 95% of all mobile customers) 500MB – the amount of data they set as a minimum – of data costs between R85 and R105. So for the average South African 500MB per month is unaffordable. In fact mobile data prices would have to fall by about half to be affordable." [3]

The digital divide excludes the majority of people in South Africa from accessing information and news, applying for jobs, accessing education resources online and keeping in touch with family and friends. High data costs perpetuate inequality. The internet must be democratised now!

The nature of South Africa’s economy forces many to leave their loved ones to find work in urban areas, but lowering the cost of data will allow people to call, share pictures and videos with loved ones back home.

Without access to data, most of us as the members of amandla. mobi would not even be able connect and fight for social justice, let alone know what is going on in our country given the SABC censoring news lately.

[1] http://www.fin24.com/Tech/Multimedia/data-prices-how-sa-compares-to-the-rest-of-the-world-20160930
[2] http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/datamustfall-cut-costs-or-else-icasa-warns-2072293
[3] https://theconversation.com/internet-freedom-why-access-is-becoming-a-human-right-59125

How it will be delivered

Every time the campaign reaches a milestone, e.g. 5000 signatures, MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom Mobile will receive an update.

South Africa

Reasons for signing

  • Data is expensive
  • Data must fall and its cost
  • Data are so expensive

Updates

2017-06-22 18:03:55 +0200

Government has renewed it's commitment wants ICASA and the Competition Commission to conduct an investigation into high data prices. However this inquiry could take years. We need action now! amandla.mobi has consulted campaign signers, and we have updated the campaign demands to also include the issue of data, airtime and SMS bundles expiring at the end of each month, and a call for this to end.

2017-03-15 11:22:14 +0200

We are making progress, President Zuma has stated that reducing the cost of data is a key priority. This is an important first step, but we still need a commitment to a reduction of 50% in the cost of data, and a clear plan and timeframe. http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=159469

2016-11-01 09:23:59 +0200

20,000 signatures reached

2016-10-04 13:47:27 +0200

10,000 signatures reached

2016-09-28 13:02:41 +0200

5,000 signatures reached