Lower the cost of data – ANC

Party says majority of people unable to enjoy the benefits of the digital economy

ANC calls for urgent lowering of the cost of data

10 August 2018

The African National Congress continues to be concerned about the negative impact that the high cost of data services has on ordinary South Africans, especially workers, youth, students and women. 

As a result of the high costs of data, the majority of our people are unable to enjoy the benefits of the digital economy in our democracy. It further stifles the growth and development of small businesses. 

The ANC believes that lowering the cost of data will be a catalyst for economic growth. It will unlock economic opportunities and thus contribute to economic growth and job creation.

The ANC encourages government to take urgent steps to ensure full implementation of all policies and regulations in support of the #DataMustFall campaign, working together with the Regulator (ICASA) and all mobile operators in our country.  

The ANC calls on all relevant stakeholders to take urgent steps to ensure implementation of this important policy imperative. We urge the regulator and mobile operators to move swiftly in finding an amicable solution on the disputes surrounding regulations on the “Code of Conduct for Electronic Communications Services”.

We are encouraged that some operators have taken the first step to lower data prices since the popular call for lowing data costs. However, this is not enough. The mobile operators must demonstrate goodwill and lower data prices and allow government to resolve the allocation of new spectrum.

The release of spectrum international mobile telecommunications services (IMT-Advance) is expected to also resolve most of the constraints experienced by mobile operators and also accelerate the roll-out of broadband networks in rural areas, particularly the wholesale Wireless Open Access Network (WOAN) earmarked in the policy. 

The ANC policy seeks to increase investment and growth in the telecommunications sector. At our recent ANC Lekgotla, we called on government to urgently implement the decision of the 54th National Conference, specifically the need to lower the cost of communications in the country, in particular the cost of data. 

The recent ANC Lekgotla has also resolved that government must urgently issue policy for the allocation of radio frequency spectrum to the WOAN, existing operators and new entrants before the investment Summit planned for October this year.

Issued by Pule Mabe, National Spokesperson, ANC, 10 August 2018